Is leather a sustainable material?

The sustainability of leather is a hot topic in for example the fashion industry, which is encountering a selection of alternative materials and sometimes confusing messaging. Fact is that properly made and sourced leather is a truly sustainable material. Leather is:

made from a by-product (recycle)and

• a long-lasting (durable)material, two very important aspects of sustainability.

Leather can be a sustainable, circular and biodegradable material when using the right chemicals.


In itself, leather is a sustainable product by origin because it is a by-product from the meat industry. The leather industry is creating a unique material from a skin that would otherwise mostly end up as landfill. In 2020 an estimated 8-10% of US hides ended up in landfill. Globally around 40% of hides were destroyed in 2020.

What is a by-product?
Output other than the principal product(s) of an industrial process, such as sawdust or woodchips generated in processing lumber. Unlike joint-products, by-products have low value in comparison with the principal product(s) and may be discarded or sold either in their original state, or after further processing. The hide or skin from animals (mainly bovine, ovine) is a by-product from the food.

Life Cycle Analysis

With the right chemicals and innovations, the leather industry can take huge steps in minimizing the footprint and making steps towards a circular economy.

A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can determine the impact of innovations and the value of bio-based technology and products, as well as the biodegradability of products, leather, their relations, and how to influence those for a more circular leather value chain.

Our mission

THILIKÓ is on a mission to create a leather value chain that is as sustainable as possible. We have developed various sustainable solutions that are true differentiators for the fashion industry. THILIKÓ is committed to continue to develop new products and solutions throughout our product offering as each drop makes a difference.