Puma Is Moving Past Unsustainable Leather

Sneakers made of suede, rather than comparable synthetics, cost more to the environment but less to shoe brands, said Jochen Zeitz, chairman of Puma SE, Europe’s second-largest sporting-goods maker.

The greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising and slaughtering cattle for the production of leather increase greatly its environmental impact.

Zeitz said sustainable leather-like materials are currently not available in large enough volumes to create economies of scale. This is one reason Puma is not ready to move completely beyond real leather.

“The limitation is getting a material that is more sustainable at the same cost or even at a better price,” he said.

Puma announced Oct. 8 the launch of InCycle, a biodegradable and recyclable line of footwear, apparel and accessories for spring and summer next year.

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