Day: June 6, 2022

Canada: Poppy Barley’s New Accessory Collection Features First Vegan Products.

Poppy Barley’s new accessory collection features the Multitasker Backpack, Convertible Belt Bag, and Card Holder.

Canada-based luxury footwear and accessories brand Poppy Barley recently announced the launch of its first vegan line, PB Plant. The brand’s new line debuted with a new accessory collection—featuring the Multitasker Backpack (CAD$348), Convertible Belt Bag (CAD$158), and Card Holder (CAD$48)—made with Laguaro, Poppy Barley’s environmentally conscious cactus leather. Lined with cotton canvas, each accessory is ethically-crafted in solar-powered Mexican factories in line with the brand’s environmental and sustainability efforts. 

Founded by sisters Justine and Kendall Barber, Poppy Barley plans to introduce more innovative plant-based leathers in future collections. “Our customers have been asking for a leather alternative since day one, but there was never an option that we could stand behind—until now,” Justine Barber said. “After years of researching and testing, we discovered cactus leather basically next door to our manufacturing facility in Mexico. We finally found a leather alternative that wouldn’t compromise quality or our values when it comes to environmental impact. 

Made from cactus, not cows or plastic

Unlike traditional vegan leathers, Poppy Barley’s Laguaro is not made using plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). Instead, the leather is produced using harvested Mexican cactus leaves, leaving the rest of the cactus intact. Although the brand’s Laguaro leather is currently 80 percent biodegradable, Poppy Barley aims to reach 100 percent sustainability in the near future. “We believe the future of fashion has no choice but to consider the Earth and humanity, and we want to lead the way,” Justine Barber said. 

Plant-based vegan leathers 

Cactus leather made its global debut in 2019 after Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez launched Desserto, the first organic leather made entirely from the nopal (or prickly-pear) cactus. Since then, Desserto has been used to make the world’s first cactus-leather boxing gloves with plans in motion for handbags.

With an estimated worth of $85.05 billion by 2025, the faux leather industry has seen an increase in sustainable vegan leathers in recent years. Popular fashion brand Hugo Boss and retailer H&M have both introduced pineapple leather in their merchandise. In 2017, H&M also named “wineleather” made by Italian company Vegea Vegetal Leather a global changemaker. Vegan leather is also making its way into home decor. Last year, Canadian furniture designer Gus* Modern launched couches and lounge chairs made with Vegan AppleSkin Leather as part of its Fall 2020 collection.

Regards Mark

These New Luxury Vegan Leather Handbags Are Made from Cactus, Not Cows | VegNews

Beef Production Is Destroying The Amazon – Turns Out, Leather Is Too !

Beef Production Is Destroying the Amazon. Turns Out, Leather Is, Too. | VegNews

Beef production is a known driver of deforestation but a new report outlines the links between leather and Amazon destruction.

More than 100 fashion brands have been linked to deforestation by a new report compiled by Slow Factory with data provided by research group Stand.Earth. While the cattle industry has been the top driver of deforestation in the Amazon region, the link between leather and deforestation is less known. 

The group examined data from public or government sources—including 500,000 rows of customs data, websites, and annual reports—to find that due to a lack of transparency in various supply chains, leather products sold by more than 100 companies, including Zara, Asics, Adidas, and Clarks, could contribute to deforestation. 

“​​The Amazon rainforest is fast approaching the tipping point of irreversible ecosystem collapse, according to scientists,” the report states. “We’re calling on the world’s leading fashion brands to act immediately to protect the Amazon rainforest, its people, and our global climate future.”

Leather and deforestation

In the last decade, 16.5 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest biome have been lost, mostly due to the cattle industry. Brazil is home to the largest cattle herd in the world at 215 million animals and its leather products—80 percent of which are exported—accounted for $1.1 billion of slaughterhouse revenue in 2020. 

JBS is the largest cattle producer in the region and has been linked to illegal deforestation multiple times. Many of the 100 named companies source leather from JBS, either directly or indirectly, therefore contributing to deforestation. The report found that this issue is endemic to the Brazilian leather industry and tanneries such as Minerva and Fuga Couros, among others, are also contributors to deforestation. “Although none of these brands are deliberately choosing deforestation leather, they are working with manufacturers and tanneries that source from opaque supply chains and companies that have known links to cattle raised on recently deforested Amazon land,” the report states.

The report assessed the deforestation risk of the 100 named companies based on the number of links they had to Brazilian leather producers. One such company was Coach, which has a high risk of supporting deforestation with its 10 connections to the Brazilian leather industry. The company is also one of the 74 companies that have anti-deforestation policies in place and the report suggests that 30 percent of these companies are in breach of their own policies. 

According to the report, the Leather Working Group (LWG)—the world’s leading nonprofit in environmental certification of the leather industry—only links leather to tanneries and not farms or supply chains, making it incapable of guaranteeing that leather products are deforestation-free. “If you’re wearing leather shoes, a leather belt, or carrying a leather handbag, it’s highly likely that it was made from cowhide that contributed to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest,” the report states.

Vegan leather: a sustainable, compassionate choice 

Opacity in leather supply chains means that just about any leather product, regardless of brand, can be linked to deforestation. However, vegan leather—particularly the type made from plants and not plastic—is increasingly becoming a more accessible and sustainable option. And the choices are vast. 

Innovators worldwide are proving that just about anything can be turned into leather without the need to slaughter animals for their hides. In Mexico, entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez developed Desserto, a vegan leather made from nopal cactus leaves. Spanish designer Carmen Hijosa tackled the leather issue by looking to the pineapple industry, discovering that the would-be wasted leaves could be turned into a sustainable vegan leather she called Piñatex. In the fashion capital Milan, innovative startup Vegea is turning waste from the Italian wine industry into vegan leather that has been used in place of animal hides across industries. 

Fashion heavyweights are also getting into vegan leather, including Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès. Earlier this year, Gucci unveiled three shoe styles made with its own vegan leather. Inspired by Greek goddess of harvest Demeter, the new material (dubbed “Demetra”) is made from 77-percent plant-based raw materials, including wood pulp and viscose, and is tanned in the way leather would be but without animal cruelty or environmental harm.

Even brands named in the Slow Factory report are working to develop plant-based leathers to minimize their environmental impact, including Adidas. The athletic brand worked with eco-designer Stella McCartney to develop vegan versions of its iconic Stan Smith sneakers. Adidas and McCartney are also part of the Mylo Consortium, a group of fashion brands working with startup Bolt Threads to use its innovative Mylo vegan leather—which is made from mycelium, the fast-growing root systems of mushrooms. The partnership will result in new mushroom leather product launches in the coming months and hopefully, contribute to a shift away from Amazon-destroying animal leather in the years to come. 

Regards Mark

Beef Production Is Destroying the Amazon. Turns Out, Leather Is, Too. | VegNews

Environmental Benefits of a Vegan Diet.

4 Major Environmental Benefits of a Vegan Diet

World Environment Day? First established by the United Nations in 1973, this global holiday aims to raise awareness about the planetary challenges we face in our fight against the climate crisis. Wondering how you can do your part? Read about how you can fight waste with recycling and composting, learn how to welcome bees into your garden, and enjoy easy, low-waste recipes. Plus, read about the vegan brands working to keep plastic bags out of landfills, how mushrooms can help reduce deforestation, and the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Eat vegan and live sustainably today and every day.


Twenty plant-based brands are taking action to reduce plastic waste in their supply chain while creating a positive socio-economic impact for marginalized waste workers.  

Twenty plant-based food brands from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are coming together to tackle plastic pollution. In partnership with plastic action platform rePurpose Global, brands such as Outstanding Foods, Myvegan, The Very Good Butchers, and V-Dog are working to remove plastic waste equalling over 27 million plastic bags, or three million plastic bottles, in weight from the planet.

Focusing on the value chain, rePurpose helps people and companies calculate, reduce, and offset their plastic footprint and advance a circular economy. To make their own impact, the 20 plant-based brands that signed on to rePurpose are reducing the plastic in their packaging and supply chains and financing the recovery of nature-bound plastic waste through rePurpose’s social enterprise waste projects, creating additional income streams for more than 10,000 waste workers and community members across three continents. 

According to rePurpose, of the 5.8 billion metric tons of plastic waste generated globally over the past 70 years, only about nine percent has been recycled, leaving the rest to be incinerated, sent to landfill, or littered in the environment. 

“Time is running out,” Peter Wang Hjemdahl, Chief Advocacy Officer and Co-Founder of rePurpose Global, said in a statement. “We are living in a plastic epidemic, where there is no single solution. Now more than ever, there is a critical need for like-minded brands to come together and use their collective strength to help tackle plastic pollution head-on.” 

Improving vegan sustainability efforts

Although vegan and plant-based products are already reducing carbon footprints and helping mitigate climate change compared to their animal-based counterparts, their climate action can be stunted by the use of plastic packaging that is frequently non-recyclable and ends up in landfills or oceans. According to Our World in Data, plastic packaging is the leading contributor to plastic waste, generating an estimated 141 metric million tons of plastic waste each year. 

“By using only plant-based ingredients in our products, we’re having a positive impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses associated with meat and dairy products,” Bill Glaser, CEO and Co-Founder of Outstanding Foods, told VegNews. “We also want to be a steward for the environment with our packaging and have partnered with rePurpose Global to be certified plastic neutral. That means that we’re helping to take plastic out of the oceans and removing other plastic waste before it goes into the oceans. Outstanding Foods is committed to making a positive environmental impact in all we do and our partnership with rePurpose is a big part of it.”

rePurpose also offers a Plastic Negative certification, which is awarded to brands with ambitious plastic reduction commitments in their supply chains, enabling the elimination of at least twice as much plastic waste from nature as they create through their own plastic footprint. To produce products as a plastic negative business, companies help fund the recovery of low-value plastic waste through rePurpose’s Anant Pranay impact project in Aurangabad, India, while also supporting the waste workers working at the project, providing a living wage to fight plastic pollution.

“Many of our members are mission-driven and want to use their businesses to have a positive impact on our planet,”  Sabina Vyas, Senior Director of Impact Strategies at Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), said in a statement. “They are already doing an incredible job to help consumers lighten their footprint by making delicious plant-based foods and sustainable packaging solutions are at the forefront for our membership.”

Repackaging to reduce plastic waste

Other brands have also taken initiative in reducing their plastic packaging. Last year, food and beverage brand Chobani repackaged its vegan oat milk-based yogurts in paper cups to make the product even more sustainable. The new cups, made from 80 percent paperboard, replace most of the plastic on its oat yogurt packaging, with the exception of a thin plastic lining that preserves the integrity of the yogurt. Chobani already packs its oat milk carton, cold brew coffee, and creamers in paperboard and is continuing its journey toward reducing plastic by repacking its oat yogurts in more sustainable cups. 

“We all have a role to play in protecting our planet,” Chobani Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a statement. “People have been asking for a paper cup, and we welcome this challenge to start reducing our plastic use, and to spark a conversation about how we can drive change together.”

Additionally, plant-based beauty brand Alpine Provisions has switched over all of its products to plastic-free packaging in an effort to support the plastic-free movement and inspire the body care industry to do the same. The company created aluminum body care bottles, paper deodorant tubes, paper lip balm tubes, and paper bar soap wraps because aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times. According to the company, 84 percent of all the aluminum ever made is still in use today. And because the material is so lightweight, shipping aluminum saves millions of pounds of carbon emissions each year. 

Going plastic-free in fashion

A similar plastic-free movement is taking shape in the fashion industry. Last year, VH Corp.—the parent company of fashion brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger—joined the plastic-free vegan leather movement by partnering with biotechnology company Ecovative. The partnership gives PVH priority access to Ecovative’s sustainable vegan leather made from fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root systems). PVH is also working directly with Ecovative to co-develop custom mycelium materials to bring a range of products to retail, from soft vegan leather accessories and garments to thick, durable belts and shoes.

Similarly, biotechnology startup Bolt Threads created the Mylo Consortium in 2020. This partnership includes major fashion brands Stella McCartney, Adidas, Lululemon, and Kering—which owns the luxury brands Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent. Under the Mylo Consortium, these brands have exclusive rights to “mylo,” Bolt Threads’ mycelium-based vegan leather. McCartney already previewed the Frayme Mylo bag made with the innovative material during Paris Fashion week last year and will be releasing it to consumers through her ready-to-wear Spring 2023 collection. 

Mycelium-based vegan leather helps solve the sustainability challenges in the fashion industry by reducing the reliance on both animal-based leather and plastic vegan leathers like polyurethane. It also makes materials production vastly more efficient. While it takes months or years to raise animals for their skins, this process takes a matter of days and yields a ready-to-finish material free from plastic and petroleum.

For more on sustainable vegan brands, read:
Why South Carolina is the New Hub of Sustainable Vegan Mushroom Leather
Vegan Fish to Be Recognizes as “Sustainable Seafood”

Regards Mark

20 Vegan Brands Join Coalition to Keep the Equivalent of 27 Million Plastic Bags Out of Landfills | VegNews

USA: Petition – Workers Rights; We must stand up to the meat industry now!

American meat corporations have bad reputations, and for good reason. These companies have reached near-supervillain status for their inhumane treatment of cattle, pigs, and chickens. Not only do animals that suffer in meat-packing plants — these corporations abuse their workers, too. New reports indicate that this industry quite literally doesn’t care if its workers live or die, and it is time Congress did something about this.

In fact, a new report by the U.S. Congress reveals that even when meat companies knew their workers were at extremely high risk of catching COVID-19, they lobbied to keep their plants open anyway.

These corporations even went so far as to fabricate letters that falsely claimed America’s meat supply was at dire risk if plants temporarily shut down. As a result, former President Trump signed an executive order classifying meat plants as critical infrastructure, forcing their doors open amidst grave danger. Given what we know so far, upwards of 59,000 meat-packing workers caught COVID-19, and nearly 300 died. That’s not even counting the family, friends, and community members they spread COVID to after contracting it at the plants. On top of that, many meat-packing workers are immigrants, low-income, uninsured, or some combination of the three. These are communities that are already at an extremely high risk of contracting severe COVID, yet the industry decided profit was more important than human lives. The government must never allow this deadly manipulation to happen again.

Sign the petition now to put pressure on Congress and tell it: all workers deserve dignity and protection! We must stand up to the meat industry now!

P.S. The industry has blood on its hands — both from the animals mistreated, and from the workers it pushed into the COVID frontline.

Regards Mark