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Product carbon footprints of leather

This interesting article, published by the International Leather Maker magazine takes a look at the often neglected non food-outputs of the livestock system, focusing in particular on leather.

The article is written by FCRN member Charlie Clarke and is based on the research he undertook for his Msc.  In the article, he questions the soundness of current recommendations for calculating the carbon-footprint of leather. These recommendations, set forth in a 2012 United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) report, say that leather is a ‘waste’ product of the beef and dairy industries rather than a by-product or co-product, meaning that tanners do not have to include the carbon-footprint of the process up until the cow is slaughtered. The article examines the methods used to arrive at this recommendation and concludes that the methodology is unsound and underestimates the actual impact of leather.  He argues that using such a flawed approach could undermine confidence in the tanning industry.

To read Charlie’s article, click here. See the UNIDO report here. Charlie’s Masters dissertation can be found in the dissertations section of our website here.

If you have a dissertation that you think is relevant and might be of interest to FCRN members, let us know and we’ll add it to our website.  Get in touch with us here.

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02 May 2014
Research trails