Leather is made from the hide or skin of animals.

leather hides in a stack.


Almost all of the world’s leather is produced from hides that come from animals raised for meat. Leather has a number of unique qualities which are highly valued, such as strength, longevity, durability, water vapor permeability, abrasion resistance, and elasticity. It’s used for a broad range of applications.


Leather production has both environmental and animal welfare implications.

At the farm level, rearing livestock involves land use and potential land use change, as well as enteric methane emissions. It might also impact water, animal welfare, and the territories of Indigenous people. A series of chemical and mechanical processes are involved in the transformation of raw hide to finished leather, and these also come with environmental and social risks.

heavy machinery logging outside of a forest.

We’re tackling deforestation and improving animal welfare.

We’re supporting the fashion and textile industry in switching to preferred materials that have better environmental and social outcomes than their conventional alternatives. Our main focus for leather is addressing deforestation and animal welfare challenges at the farm levels of the bovine leather supply chain.

cows in a pasture.


Support animal welfare and forest preservation


Dive deeper into leather production

Get Involved

Take the next steps in your sourcing journey

Sign up for our Leather Round Table

Lead the conversation on how the leather industry can reduce its climate impact and improve biodiversity, water, and soil health while respecting the rights of people and animals

Join the Leather Round Table

Reward positive practices through our Leather Impact Accelerator

We’ve developed the Leather Impact Accelerator to support brands in addressing the sustainability challenges related to leather production throughout the entire supply chain, from farm to finished leather.

cow in a hazy orange pasture at sunrise.

Get the latest data

You can access our latest data on production volume for leather in our Materials Production Dashboard.

cows in the hills.


Join the Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather 

The Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather asks brands to commit to sourcing their bovine leather from deforestation/conversion-free supply chains by 2030 or earlier. Co-led by Textile Exchange and the Leather Working Group (LWG), it sets meaningful expectations for brands and develops tools and guidance to support them on this journey. 

Other Animal Fibers and Materials


Sheep wool is the most common animal fiber used in the fashion and textile industry.


Down is an insulating material with a high warmth-to-weight ratio.

Other Animal Fibers

Other animal fibers used in the fashion and textile industry include mohair, cashmere, and alpaca.