There is a most unfortunate press release on vegetable tanning that came via PR Newswire, that is a shock to read. It implies that vegetable tanning is fraudulently supported and promoted, but that in fact plays a major role in the destruction of forests. The link to the text is here
“Vegetable Tanned Leather” Could Cause Devastating Environmental Effects and Lead to Future Pandemics, it is NOT “Safer” or “Eco-Friendly” as Many Leather Companies Imply
but we expect to see more publications and web sites use it as went out before we had sight of it, and although the author has kindly accepted that it is wrong it had already been posted.
The impact that vegetable tanning can make on the environment via deforestation can be large and impactful as it suggests, but we are talking about events 100 years ago. In Central America, where the charity who wrote it are established the historic problem was with the mangrove forests. This was one of the main materials used in tanning. It has, of course, not been used in the last century there and we are not aware of anyone in the world who has even considered using it in the last 6 six decades, and almost certainly much longer. Mangrove forests remain threatened but the damage of the 20th century and this century seems to come from population growth and tourism. This is undoubtedly the case in Central America. It certainly has not been from leather making.