Over the last years, rising demand for vegan alternatives to leather invaded the market, with a sounding +178% of searches for terms like “vegan leather” over the internet in the last year.
But, while a product being vegan can be good news, it does not mean that it is also sustainable. That is why we worked – and we’re still working – on making our bio-based material from oranges and cacti an all-around sustainable alternative to animal skins.
At Ohoskin, we believe that sustainability is a multi-faceted concept that involves
- The animals,
- The economy,
- The society
- the environment
As being made exclusively from vegetal and non-animal ingredients, we don’t use any animal components in any part of our production process. Thanks to this, we secured the VVV+ animal-free fashion label by the Anti-Vivisection League.
First, it re-uses 1,3 M Tons of byproducts of oranges and cacti that Sicilian agri-food and cosmetic industries produce yearly. It means we give new life to waste that otherwise would be considered an environmental and economic cost.
Secondly, using a byproduct, we don’t subtract new crops from the food chain.
It, in its turn, means we don’t consume water or other resources to grow our ingredients. It is a great advantage compared to leather, whose production consumes 400 billion liters yearly of one of our most valuable resources. And it is significantly different from other vegan alternatives that use plants grown specifically for that purpose.
Thanks to our circular economy process, we not only give new life and value to waste but also help farmers profit from it. Also, our production process takes place in a former economically depressed area, in an ex-petrochemical plant restructured as an innovative green industry plant, creating new jobs. Also, as far as cultural challenges are concerned, our women-led company is redefining the concept of luxury from something for the few to enjoy to a socially responsible industry that benefits everyone.
Then there’s sustainability, as we generally mean it. That means carbon emissions and pollution.
While 90% of leather tanneries worldwide still employ chromium, which causes severe damage to both the environment and human health, synthetic and vegan alternatives also often employ toxic methods and components for ecosystems and people. It can use PU, which releases microplastics into the environment and has a short life cycle.
Or it can use a PVC that contains phthalates, which can be dangerous for human health.
Ohoskin uses a combination of bio-based polymer from oranges and cacti and a new, bio-attributed PVC. This PVC, while granting excellent durability (and thus an extended life cycle), reduces carbon emissions by 90%, thanks to its non-fossil formulation with organic feedstock from the forestry industry and recycled fossil components. In this way, it prevents new emissions from extracting new ones. To learn more about our unique ingredients, read our dedicated blog post.
In addition, being animal-free, it does not require mass farming, which we know it to be one of the main sources of emissions.
Also, we chose to work with a production partner, Novartiplast Italia, who pioneered using green solvents without phthalates. Finally, our partner powers its facilities with 868 solar cells for a total production of 213,000 kWh per year. It helps prevent the emission of
- 104,12 tons of CO2
- 140,65 tons of SO2
- 109,79 tons of NOx
in the atmosphere.
In this article, we made a list of why Ohoskin, the leather alternative from oranges and cacti, is sustainable. However, there’s still one we left out until now: transparency. We talked about it in a separate article about our philosophy. And, since we believe in transparency as a critical sustainability factor, we know there’s still more to be done. For this reason, we’re working on getting as many certifications from third parties as possible. So don’t forget to recheck this article and our blog from time to time, and keep yourself updated with our newsletter.