Our view on sustainability - terminology

People and companies increasingly acknowledge the importance of sustainability and terminology plays an important role in how others perceive your company and its activities. Unfortunately, greenwashing is common. The term “greenwashing” is taken from the popular term, “whitewashing” and describes the actions companies take in an attempt to appear greener than they truly are.

At Stahl, we recognize the importance of using accurate nomenclature, especially when it comes to sustainability. We believe that some words can be inaccurate or misleading, so we have intentionally omitted them from our literature and texts. In our drive to promote transparency throughout the supply chain, terminology is key. We strongly encourage either using terms correctly, or not at all.

Some of the words or phrases we have omitted:

Terms describing the way leather has been produced
Terms like eco leather, green leather and organic leather are commonly used. These terms are misleading because it remains unclear what these terms actually mean. At Stahl, we would rather describe our solutions as more sustainable alternatives instead, and then specifically describe why. For example, reduced water consumption.

Terms referring to leather alternatives

Polyurethane leather, PU leather and vegan leather are also commonly used terms. None of these materials contain leather. These products are based on polyurethanes and other materials, which means they do not have any link to animals. At Stahl, we call leather alternatives, “synthetics”. This clearly shows our clients and consumers that these products do not contain any type of leather.

The word leather is falsely used or referred to in many other terms. These include PVC leather, leather fabric, synthetic leather, fake leather, artificial leather, bonded leather, eco-leather, leatherette, pleather, pleatherette, faux leather, fruit leather, pineapple leather and suedette.

Chemistry processes described as eco or green
Terms like eco chem / ecochem and greenchem are unclear. We prefer to use terms like ‘more sustainable chemistry’ and to present comparative data on the benefits of that more sustainable chemistry.

It’s our primary goal to achieve a more transparent and sustainable supply chain in the industries in which we participate. We are honest about our actions and achievements. You can read more about this in our annual Sustainability Report. We hope that other players in the industry follow this example, so we can abandon greenwashing together. 

Do you have questions regarding this topic: please don't hesitate to contact us