We choose leather over plastic across our footwear. Period.
The leather we use across our range of products are a by-product of the food industry. Our leathers and suedes are sourced from humanely raised animals and it’s our responsibility to be as transparent as possible on the source of our material selection.
Whilst the argument remains that the use of leather in footwear goes against animal welfare; our leathers are a by-product of the food industry. Quality is imperative to b.soleful. We want our customers to enjoy longevity from their purchase. We have explored alternative leathers that don’t come from animals such as fruit-based leathers, however, the quality and comfort suffers as a result.
We’re always on the look out for a new sustainable leather. In fact, we are working with the British Leather Corporation and are aware of a leather that can be grown in a laboratory. We’re still a couple of years away from commercialising this opportunity, and using it in our manufacturing process, but we’re excited by what’s to come. Our long term goal is to move away from animal derived leather and yet still maintain the same quality.
The Chromed Or Vegetable Tanned Leather Debate
Many leather tanneries use chromium as a tanning agent as it’s a fast way to colour and soften leather. Chromium is a heavy metal which exposes workers in the tannery to respiratory and reproductive issues. Once the leather is dyed, the tanneries dispose of the chemicals contaminating water sources which can accumulate in animals and food supply.
On the other hand, vegetable tanned leather takes a lot longer to produce and requires far more water consumption then leather that has been treated through the chroming process.
There is a misplaced judgement in the leather industry that vegetable tanned leather is more sustainable than chromium tanned leather. So long as we can trace the tanning process of our leathers through working closely with the tanneries, we are able to bring sustainable leather to our customers whilst maintaining a sustainable impact on the planet. An uncontrolled tannery process can result in Oxidisation of Chromium III to Chromium VI which is highly toxic and exposes tannery workers.
Both processes have their environmental strengths and weaknesses. We aim to source our leather from suppliers that work with the Leather Working Group. The Leather Working Group (LWG) is a multi-stakeholder group made up of brands, suppliers and tanneries who work towards a sustainable and ecological practice within the leather supply chain. The leather used across our b.soleful x INUOVO sandals has been audited and approved by the LWG.
So long as its SOURCED WELL, MADE WELL, and is DEGRADEABLE it’s a strong argument for the use of leather (vs. plastic) and sustainable footwear.
b.soleful X Human Equality
A positive impact on our planet does not stop with nature. Its imperative we promote human equality throughout life and the team at b.soleful will do everything they can to ensure this is achieved. The suppliers we work with encourage healthy and empowered working conditions for its employees. They’re cool, family run manufacturers and we’ve got huge trust and respect for each other. Our suppliers follow ILO standards, with a policy of zero exposure to poisonous intoxicants, fair pay and workers’ rights, as well as zero child labour.
We have taken the decision to source b.soleful branded product from European based suppliers for Autumn Winter 2020. The suppliers we are working with abide by European employment law.
As b.soleful grows, our aim is to establish a company audit which our trusted suppliers agree to and comply with. We are aiming to implement this by Spring Summer 2021.