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PETA Names Apple “Company of the Year” for Ditching Leather in its Products

When Apple introduced its latest iPhone 15 series and Watch Series 9, it made a significant shift in its choice of accessories. The tech giant said goodbye to leather in favor of woven-based materials for its Apple watch straps, AirTag pouches, MagSafe wallets, and iPhone cases.

Apple is promoting the new recycled material for its significantly lower emissions compared to the carbon-intensive leather it replaces. This environmentally conscious move caught the attention of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals).

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple’s decision to eliminate leather across its product lineup earned it accolades in the form of PETA’s 2023 Company of the Year award. PETA praises Apple for “meeting consumers’ demands and setting a tremendous example for other top companies by ditching leather as part of its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

PETA emphasizes that leather from cows’ skin contributes substantially more to water pollution, water depletion, and greenhouse gas emissions compared to synthetic or plant-based vegan leather. Cattle ranching, a significant driver of deforestation, further underscores the environmental toll of leather production.

While Apple’s move away from leather aligns with its broader green initiative, the transition has not been without its challenges. Apple’s alternative, dubbed FineWoven, has not been well-received. Users find the FineWoven cases peculiar to the touch, prone to scratching, and quick to gather dirt. Some third-party retailers even chose not to carry them, and Apple advised its staff to regularly swap display units to maintain a polished appearance.

The FineWoven cases need a serious upgrade to align with customer expectations. Despite the evident drawbacks, Apple can probably take solace in the likely higher profit margins of FineWoven cases, considering the unchanged price tag of $59 compared to their leather predecessors.

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