What are the benefits of vegan car interiors?

Modern cars, and especially electric ones, increasingly have vegan interiors. A trend that has many ecological and environmental benefits.

The arrival of cars around which we reflect the impact on the environment has changed the situation. Electrification is clearly the most visible result of technological decisions.

However, another resulting trend is the gradual disappearance of leather interiors. Fabrics, faux 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 vehicle’s environmental impact.

Veganism is against all forms of animal abuse. This includes food of course, and more broadly the way of life. Clothes, things, and therefore cars: a vegan person will live in an environment free of animal cruelty.

Ford was one of the first brands to release a vehicle with a 100% vegan interior. It’s on the Mustang Mach-E, which has earned a seal of approval from Peta, one of the world’s largest animal rights groups.

When the Polestar 2 was launched, the brand also proved that its interior is 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 developed by the brand by recycling seat belts and plastic bottles.

A significant reduction in polluting emissions

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

One of the well-known suppliers for vegan materials is Ultrafabrics. The American-Japanese company has been producing materials that replace leather for more than 20 years. At first, its products were substitutes, but its coatings are now moving away from animal skin.

“We’re not trying to compare ourselves to leather”said Nicole Meier, brand director. “People are more educated about materials, and our future products will be more technical. »

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

Ultrafabrics products consist of 50% sustainable or recycled materials. Its emissions report shows that the production of its products causes 4.6 kilograms of CO2 per square meter.

Leather retains its popularity… subject to conditions

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

“The company asks its suppliers to respect the committee’s Five Freedoms for farm animal welfare”, explained Mercedes. These Five Freedoms, code named Five Freedoms across the Channel, have become a benchmark for animal welfare.

However, leather has not yet appeared in our cars, because manufacturers are doing the opposite. This is the case of Polestar, which has acknowledged that leather will return to the interior of its cars.

“We have overhauled Polestar 2’s materials and manufacturing processes, introducing updates that reduce climate impact and increase material traceability”said CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

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

Can the skin be less polluted than vegan materials?

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

According to the US Department of Agriculture, leather is a by-product of animals raised for meat. Clearly defending his profession, Bowden judged that he would not be “unethical” do not use their skin.

And rely on the figures of the ministry, which explains that if it is necessary to remove the skin of animals raised for meat, it will produce six million tons of additional CO2.

Thanks to its process of sourcing hides from the UK and Denmark, the Scottish Leather Group is the least polluting leather producer in the world. But despite this honorable title, its leather emits the equivalent of 8 kilograms of CO2 per square meter.

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

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