Stella McCartney Exposed Unfair Tax on Vegan Leather Bags at COP28

Celebrity British designer Stella McCartney launched a sustainable innovation exhibit during COP28 in Dubai to advocate for policy and regulatory change to decarbonise the fashion industry through alternative and innovative materials for leathers, furs, wool, feathers, and fills.

According to Stella McCartney, the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meanwhile, its carbon footprint is expected to increase, driven by the growing population and consumption trends. 

Speaking to CNN (at COP28), the fashion designer said that the current policies do not penalize environmentally and socially harmful practices, including deforestation, animal agriculture, and toxic leather tanning, which pose risks to humans and the planet.

She explained that her vegan leather bags are “penalised” with a 30% tax in the USA, pointing out that adding a small piece of animal leather to her vegan products eliminates this tax, which reflects how the current system rewards polluters. At the climate change conference, she challenged these “penalisations”  on vegan items calling on leaders to introduce stricter laws and new tariffs on unsustainable fashion.

Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot partner to recycle grape waste and make luxury vegan leather.
© VEGEA/Stella McCartney

Decarbonising fashion

Stella McCartney says that she has never used leather, feathers, skin, or fur in her creations since the launch of the fashion brand in 2001. Through the years, she has worked with various biomaterial companies to create and launch luxury products featuring innovative materials such as MIRUM, Mylo, and an upcycled leather made with grapes from the champagne house Veuve Clicquot.

At COP28, the brand committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and announced a partnership with the biotech company Mango Materials and Air Carbon to develop textiles from GHG emissions, including methane.

The brand also announced an upcoming sustainable circular design and materials guide and a partnership with PETA to launch a campaign highlighting fashion innovations in animal product alternatives.

“The responsibility is on fashion brands, in collaboration with private and public leaders, to increase the speed of decarbonisation,” states the brand on its blog Stella’s World.

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