Founded in 2014, Qorium recently succeeded in developing proof of concept of its product. The cell cultured leather takes 99% less water and 66% less energy to produce than conventional leather.
It also eliminates the need for the first two phases of the tanning process, which are notoriously polluting. And since only a few bovine skin cells are required to produce the leather, the methane emissions produced by livestock could be vastly reduced.
“We look forward to providing real high-quality leather made in a dramatically more sustainable way than conventional leather,” said Stef Kranendijk, co-CEO and co-founder at Qorium. “This will be a game-changing, revolutionary transformation of the current leather market.”
Demand for leather alternatives is growing rapidly, with companies seeking to replace conventional leather in everything from car interiors to watch straps. By 2025, it’s estimated that the market will be worth $89.6 billion. But to date, most alt-leather companies have focused on plant-derived materials such as pineapple leaves and cactus skins.
“More and more users of leather, particularly the premium high-end brands in the leather fashion, footwear and automotive industry, want all the properties of real leather without the tremendously high negative impact on the environment that comes with livestock rearing,” said Rutger Ploem, co-CEO and co-founder at Qorium. “Qorium provides exactly that.”