Leather and the circular economy
About this essay
We first published essay eleven in the Nothing To Hide series in the October-November 2015 issue of World Leather. Its focus was on the work of Dr Gunter Pauli, founder of Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives and author of ‘The Blue Economy’ and ‘The New Blue Economy’. Dr Pauli says he chose to put ‘Blue’ in the title because “green is no longer enough”. It paved a path towards the Leather and the Circular Economy section that we launched in the magazine in 2020.
For years, Dr Gunter Pauli’s main aim has been to find ingenious entrepreneurial ideas that use, in the most sustainable way possible, resources that we already have around us.
Projects that Dr Pauli has worked on have created millions of jobs, with a critical added bonus of circulating the money from workers’ wages within local communities, often in poor parts of the world. He says these examples merely “scratch the surface” of what is possible in the Blue Economy.
There is great potential in “regenerating a culture of artisans” all over the world, he argues, using easily accessible natural materials to create value.
The leather industry is part of this picture and can proudly point to its long-standing history of making use of waste from another industry (the meat sector), adding very high levels of value to it to create a beautiful, desirable and highly versatile material. It creates jobs and alleviates a potentially serious waste management problem at the same time. It is one of the most circular industries on the planet.