The Rise of Faux Leather: Environmental Implications and Sustainable Alternatives

In recent years, there has been a significant surge in the popularity of faux leather as a substitute for traditional animal-derived leather. As consumers become more conscious of the environmental and ethical impacts of their purchase, many are turning to faux leather as a seemingly eco-friendly alternative. However, the reality is far more complex, with the increase of using faux leather brings its own set of challenges for the environment.

Faux leather, also known as synthetic leather or vegan leather, is typically made from petroleum-based materials such as polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material does not involve animal cruelty so may seem like the more ethical option, but the production and disposal of faux leather comes with their own environmental consequences.

 ‘Faux leather is harmful during production and disposal’ … clothing on a beach in Ghana.

📸 Muntaka Chasant


One of the main primary concerns with faux leather is it requires fossil fuels to be produced. The extraction and processing of petroleum-based materials contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and habit destruction. Additionally, the manufacturing can harm both human health and the environment due to the toxic chemicals involved.

Another reason is faux leather is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to break down in landfills when an item is no longer wanted. As a result, it contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution, threatening wildlife, and ecosystems around the world. Many companies market their faux leather products as sustainable alternatives without providing transparent information about their production processes or the environmental impact of their materials.  This has caused an increase of concern about greenwashing – the practice of misleading consumers into believing that a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.


Jocelyn Whipple is a responsible materials specialist at the sustainable fashion consultancy The Right Project. She says:

“Faux leather in general is an inaccurate and vague term. It comes with all the innuendoes around the positive inherent qualities of leather, which are so far from the qualities of plastic as a raw material in terms of durability, longevity, and natural composability. We need to call the materials what they are and let them ride on their merits.”

She adds: “There must be a clear understanding of the whole life cycle of the product and, ultimately, what happens at the end of its life.” 

So, what can environmentally conscious consumers do to make more sustainable choices? One option to consider is alternative materials that offer the look and feel of leather without the negative environmental consequences. An example of this is sheep skin, which is known for its durability, softness, and natural beauty.

 Natures Collection

Natures Collection is a brand that offers a range of sustainably sourced sheepskin products, providing an ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to faux leather. Their products are made from high-quality sheepskin sourced from responsibly managed farms, ensuring minimal environmental impact and ethical treatment of animals.

Sheepskin holds a significant advantage over faux leather in terms of environmental impact. Unlike synthetic materials, sheepskin is biodegradable and can break down naturally over time, returning nutrients to the soil and minimising waste.

"The core in our belief is that nature gives us the resources we need, without exploiting the vital resources of the earth. In other words, we respect nature and its ecosystem and use the resources it gives to us. This makes NATURES Collection and the fur business in general an important player in the necessary battle against climate change." – a snippet from Natures Collection ‘Animal Rights or Sustainable Fashion?’ article.

Emil Sheepskin Armchair

Emil Sheepskin Armchair

Among their collection, the Emil Sheepskin Armchair stands out as a luxurious and eco-friendly seating option. The chair is crafted with care and features delicate lambskin pelts from New Zealand, which create a one-of-a-kind texture that you can feel. The wool accents are charmingly combined with sturdy wooden legs, making it a beautiful and confident addition to any room. Place in your living room, office or even hallway and allow for endless styling opportunities.

Zebra Pattern Sheepskin Cushion

Zebra Pattern Sheepskin Cushion

For those looking to add a touch of sophistication to their living space, the Zebra Pattern Sheepskin Cushion offers a unique and eye-catching design. Made from ethically sourced sheepskin with a striking zebra pattern, this cushion adds texture and personality to any room. Sink into its sumptuous embrace and feel the stress of the day melt away. Whether you’re lounging on the sofa, curling up with a good book, or simply adding a touch of sophistication to your living space, this cushion is the perfect companion.

Luxury Leather Jewellery Box

Luxury Leather Jewellery Box

For storing jewellery and accessories in style, the Luxury Leather Jewellery Box is an excellent choice. Crafted with high-quality calf leather from South America, it offers superior durability and softness, making it a staple in your jewellery storage. The classic camel colour adds a hint of sophistication to your collection. Its roomy design features four large sections and one long centre compartment perfect for organising your rings and earrings. Plus, the box has a large mirror so you can get glamorous with ease. Spoil yourself with Natures Collection's Luxury Leather Jewellery Box and make the perfect accessory statement.


By choosing products from Natures Collection, you can support sustainable practices and reduce your environmental footprint while also enjoying the timeless elegance of sheepskin all at the same time! In a world where conscious consumerism is more important than ever, making informed choices about the materials we use is essential for creating a more sustainable future.

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