Leather and automobiles: the Brazilian Leather Webinar Series


The automotive sector was the central theme of the latest Brazilian Leather Webinar Series. The debate that took place this Friday (6) discussed what drives leather in this market, consumer perceptions, and the influence of topics such as sustainability and deforestation on the strategy of the biggest industry players.

The Brazilian Leather Webinar Series was held by the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB) with the support of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The project promoted a series of three webinars which focused on leather and fashion, furniture, and automotive industries, with great speakers from these sectors.

GST Autoleather (one of the world's leading suppliers of leather components to automakers such as Toyota, Daimler, and GM) was represented by its vice president Stephen Jeske. He brought some data about a very recent survey to the audience. Here are some highlights:

- Automobile production worldwide is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with a decrease in the manufacturing of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines and an increase in the production of hybrids and fully electric propulsions

- Even with the decrease in the production of internal combustion engine vehicles, by 2025, they will still represent alone 55% of the world production (today they are almost 90%);

- Approximately 69% of consumers prefer leather as a material for car seats due to softness and comfort (71%), as well as better texture and luxury (70%);

- Approximately 53% of consumers who bought a car with seats made of synthetic material seats believing it was leather, and then found out that it was synthetic, will probably or definitely change brands on their next purchase.  The data shows that clarifying the type of material at the moment of vehicle purchase is a point to be worked on by the industry

  - GST Autoleather believes that the encouragement of leather collaborative projects should unite the industry, showing positive practices in carbon footprint, traceability, animal welfare, resource conservation, etc. as well as a communication campaign to focus on labeling practices and accurate material description practices for the consumers.

JBS Couros was represented in this edition by Kim Sena, sustainability manager, who presented two pillars of the company's work: transparency and assessment of the life cycle of materials (in which leather is found to be a more durable option that has less impact in its production when compared to other materials in the automotive industry). In the transparency spectrum, Kim talked about the Juntos pela Amazônia project, launched in September by JBS:

“Juntos pela Amazônia is a set of long-term initiatives that aim to increase the conservation and development of the Amazonian biome, engaging the sector and proposing actions beyond the company's value chain. JBS is working towards unique and innovative solutions to include all the links in this chain in its monitoring base by 2025. Similarly, the company has established a fund to finance initiatives to increase forest conservation, promote sustainable development of the local communities, and foster scientific and technological development.”