As if Tesla weren’t amazing enough already for their efforts to create sustainable and environmentally friendly products, they have recently decided to ditch the leather and opt for only vegan leather alternative in their vehicles.
Tesla is by far the leader in electric cars, and have now made their cars more affordable so that more people can switch over to electric. By choosing to go vegan, they not only attract a wider consumer base, but also allow everyone the opportunity to feel good about their purchase by reducing their carbon footprint when buying a car.
Although Tesla has yet to come outright and talk about the switch, all mentions of leather have been completely removed from their website, and all upgraded interiors are now referred to with Tesla’s “premium” designation, which is applied to the original rollout of vegan seats, made from a new kind of synthetic material. The new leather has already received positive feedback from consumers.
Why Go Vegan?
People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of animal agriculture, making Tesla’s decision both timely and economical. Animal agriculture currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land and resources. These numbers are rarely discussed, and often outright hidden from the mainstream, but with increasing awareness, more and more people are choosing to at least look at their own carbon impact, and see what they can do to lighten their step.
Related CE Articles that go into more detail as to why more people are changing their lifestyle : Disturbing Aerial Photos Show What Killing Billions of Animals For Meat is Doing To The Environment
The leather industry is closely related to the meat industry. While many people assume that if cows are going to be slaughtered and killed for consumption anyway, then we might as well use the leather that would otherwise be wasted, but what they don’t realize is that the process of making leather in itself is not sustainable, either. One Green Planet reveals:
Once the hide or skin has been harvested from the slaughtered animal, there is a three-stage process it must undergo to become leather. The remaining flesh is scraped away and the hairs removed, after which the skin is treated (tanned) to ensure it doesn’t decompose. The skin is then thinned, re-tanned, lubricated, and, if required, dyed. This process uses several chemicals and toxins including ammonia; cyanide-based dyes, formaldehyde; and lead. Some of these products are carcinogenic, and all are environmental pollutants, which end up released into the air, ground, and water supply. These processes are especially polluting in countries where environmental regulations aren’t enforced.
Did PETA Have a Role in This Decision?
Believe it or not, PETA is a Tesla Motors shareholder, and when a representative spoke at the 2015 annual meeting to urge the company to switch to offering only vegan leather interiors, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said he would absolutely “consider” it. Since then, PETA and other PETA members who also spoke at this meeting submitted shareholder proposals asking for vegan leather interiors. Up until now, the highly anticipated Model X SUV was the only Tesla model available with a completely leather-free interior, including seats, steering wheel, and gearshift.
It is important to note, however, that not every component in a Tesla is vegan. Cars still come with a leather wrapped steering wheel standard, but Tesla has and will continue to provide a non-leather steering wheel upon request for customers.
Video: Asking Elon Musk About Going Vegan
Tesla’s mission statement is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” They are certainly walking their talk with this new transition, and stands as a fine example of what a sustainable and ethical company should look like. Tesla has integrity, and even though many consumers may want or prefer the real leather, Tesla is doing what’s right. This is amazing to see in such a high level corporation, and we can only hope this switch will prompt consumers, and other corporations, to consider the sustainability of leather for themselves.
Way to go, Tesla!
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