What are the benefits of vegan car interiors?

Modern cars, especially electric cars, have more and more vegan interiors. A trend with many environmental and ecological benefits.

The arrival of cars, which we think about the impact on the environment, has changed the situation. Electrification is the most visible result of these technology decisions.

However, another resulting trend is the gradual disappearance of leather interiors. Fabrics, artificial vegan leather: manufacturers make alternative choices that allow them to maintain a high level of quality. And above all, these new materials make it possible to reduce the car’s impact on the environment.

Veganism is against all forms of animal abuse. This of course includes food and more broadly lifestyle. Clothes, things and therefore means of transport: a vegan person will live in an environment devoid of animal cruelty.

Ford was one of the first brands to release a car with a 100% vegan interior. It was in the Mustang Mach-E, and the brand won praise from Peta, one of the world’s largest animal rights groups.

When the Polestar 2 was launched, the brand also confirmed that its interior was animal-free. This is also the case with the Tesla Model 3, which has used synthetic leather since its launch. At Renault, Zoé uses fabrics made by the brand by recycling seat belts and plastic bottles.

A significant reduction in pollutant emissions

In addition to cruelty to animals, the production of leather and animal products is also a major source of pollution. BMW will launch vegan interiors this year after conducting research in this direction. The Bavarian manufacturer claims that stopping the production of leather interior will reduce pollutant emissions from this part of the cars by 85%.

One of the most well-known suppliers for vegan materials is Ultrafabrics. The American-Japanese company has been producing skin substitutes for over 20 years. At first, its products were substitutes, but its covers are now moving away from animal skins.

“We never try to compare ourselves to skin”– said brand director Nicole Meier. “People are more aware of materials and the products of our future are more technical in nature. »

“Our customers’ customers set the trends and they want to offer the best and newest material that doesn’t feel like leather but is cool to the touch, doesn’t crack or peel, stays cool and doesn’t absorb body heat. I think these technical aspects speak to people. »

Ultrafabric products contain 50% sustainable or recycled materials. Its emissions report shows that the production of its products generates 4.6 kilograms of CO2 per square meter.

Leather retains its popularity… depending on the conditions

Other manufacturers, such as Mercedes, have decided to continue producing leather interiors. However, the German brand does so with a partner who must respect a certain code of ethics.

“The company requires its suppliers to respect the Five Freedoms of the Committee on Animal Welfare in Farming”, Mercedes explained. These Five Freedoms, codenamed the Five Freedoms in the channel, have become a benchmark for animal welfare.

However, leather does not appear in our cars, because manufacturers even do the opposite. This is the case with Polestar, which recognizes that leather will make a comeback in the interiors of its cars.

“We’ve overhauled the materials and processes that go into Polestar 2’s production, introducing updates that reduce climate impact and increase material traceability”– said CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

“We require that all leather used in Polestar products is fully traceable, meeting the highest standards of animal welfare and the Five Freedoms. A new leather supplier, Bridge of Weir, meets our requirements. »

Could leather be less polluting than vegan materials?

Bridge of Weir is part of the Scottish Leather Group, whose sustainability director explains the interest from the leather industry. “One of the arguments we hear is that we raise animals for their skins.”Warren Bowden said. “You don’t raise an animal for 1% of its value, and the hide is about 1% of its total value. »

According to the US Department of Agriculture, leather is a byproduct of animals raised for meat. Bowden, who openly defends his profession, judges that he will not “unethical” not using their skins.

Trusting the figures of the ministry, which explains that if it were necessary to get rid of the skins of animals raised for meat, it would produce six million tons of additional CO2.

The Scottish Leather Group is the world’s least polluting leather producer thanks to its leather sourcing process from the UK and Denmark. But despite this honor, its skin emits 8 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per square meter.

Faced with 4.6 kilograms of CO2 per square meter of synthetic materials, the pollution caused by leather is therefore much higher. For this reason, vegan leathers and other recycled fabrics should continue to expand in the future.

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