The vegansociety.com website defines veganism as a “philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude… all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” It also “promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment.”
Thus, veganism mandates animal-free alternatives for all aspects of human life, including clothing, footwear, and food.
Veganism embraces a plant-based diet, avoids all animal-based foodstuffs such as meat, eggs, dairy, and honey. It also avoids all animal-derived materials like leather used to make items such as shoes, bags, belts, and jackets. Vegans also avoid using any products that have been tested on animals.
However, the caveat here is medication. Often the choice between life or death is medication that has been tested on animals. Veganism advocates that you take this medication if there are no viable alternatives. As quoted on the vegansociety.com website, “a dead vegan is no good to anyone.”
The vegan shoe: Eco-friendly and human-centric
Another controversial aspect of the vegan lifestyle is whether the manufacture of leather-replacement materials is good for the environment or not. Let’s consider this statement by looking at how the vegan shoe is manufactured in relation to its eco-friendliness and human-centricity.
Vegan shoes are manufactured from a wide variety of materials, including cork, bamboo, recycled plastics, organic cotton, and natural rubber. Others come from plastic, therefore, adding to the global pollution levels. There is a strong and continuing move to the use of sustainable and ethical raw materials.
Thus, the answer to the question of why using non-animal products to manufacture vegan shoes is good for the environment, has multiple faces.
The farming of beef for human consumption (dairy and beef) is one of the main contributors to global warming. Methane gas, produced by cattle, is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Thus, by reducing the number of cattle on the planet, the greenhouse gas levels will drop exponentially.
Secondly, manufacturing clothing and shoes from recycled plastics are gaining traction and is a sustainable way of reducing the plastic waste currently in landfills and in our oceans.
Eco-friendly and human-centric manufacturing processes
Plant-based leather is manufactured using bio-oils from organic cereal crops. This ensures that it is breathable, comfortable, and eco-friendly. The manufacturing processes are not only good for the environment, but they are also human-centric. Toxic chemicals aren’t used in the manufacturing process, so the workers are not at risk of developing workplace health issues.
Additionally, the vegan clothing and footwear movement practice ethical behaviors in the way companies treat their employees and the raw materials they procure. Companies subscribed to the Fairtrade principles, ensuring productive, happy employees and raw materials ethically and sustainably sourced.
Finally, the only comment left to make is that supporting the vegan shoe industry’s sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly, and human-centric practice is becoming mandatory. In order to save the planet, there must be a move from unsustainable, animal-based practices to environmentally friendly plant-based methodologies.