For a better experience, keep your browser up to date.
Check here for latest versions.


Sustainable Leather: What Is Ethically Sourced Leather?

Leather, a material beloved for its durability and versatility, has been used for over 7,000 years. It continues to be a popular choice for high-quality shoes, jackets, bags, and more. However, the conventional production of leather can cause significant environmental challenges. Because of this, we are on a mission to inspire change throughout the fashion industry by making conscious decisions when it comes to sourcing and processing our leather so we can create comfortable, durable, and ethically made shoes.

What is Eco-Friendly Leather?


Sourcing and Supply Chain

What sets our eco-friendly leather apart is our commitment to sustainability and ethical practices at every stage of the supply chain. Often, the answer to the question “Is leather eco-friendly?” is usually “Not so much.” Leather production, in its traditional form, can have significant environmental impacts due to the use of toxic chemicals in tanning processes, high water usage, and contributions to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. But at CARIUMA, our premium and certified sustainable leather and suede are sourced, tanned, and finished using low-waste methods, renewable and recycled inputs, and fewer chemicals.

The operations from raw material to finished leather are carried out within our nominated supplier facilities to ensure traceability and visibility. And, our sustainable leather is never sourced from areas deforested for cattle farming. It’s exclusively a byproduct of best-practice food industry cattle: steroid-free and grass-fed on pampas (naturally treeless plains indigenous to South America). All of the leather and suede used in our shoes - like our OCA Low sneakers - is responsibly sourced from the United States, Brazil and Argentina.


Partnering with Gold-Rated Suppliers

We work with suppliers who are Gold-Rated by the Leather Working Group (LWG), an organization that provides the most reliable seal of approval for sustainability in the leather industry. They have undergone the stringent LWG Manufacturer Audit to ensure the traceability and minimal environmental impact of ethically sourced leather along the entire supply chain.


Sustainable Leather Tanning and Processing

After the initial treatment of the material, leather is tanned to become the soft, supple material used in our ethical leather shoes. To keep to our commitment of sourcing only ethical leather, our suppliers use a process that has a 53% smaller energy footprint than conventional leather processing.

While the majority of tanneries use coal and natural gas boilers, our supplier uses solar panels to heat water to up to 70ºC. In fact, 100% of our suppliers’ thermal energy comes from renewable sources like solar panels and biomass (primarily upcycled wood from the furniture industry). We also treat and reuse 100% of the water used to produce our sustainable leather. This results in 71% less water usage and 78% less nutrient runoff into bodies of water.


Reducing Chemical and Carbon Footprint

Beyond the use of renewable energy and advanced water efficiency technology, our ethical leather suppliers also minimize chemical waste, reducing it by 64% compared to the industry average. Chromium, a key ingredient in the tanning process, is recycled from various stages and transformed back into its basic form, ensuring the least possible environmental impact. Overall, our LWG Gold-Rated eco-friendly leather has a 71% lower carbon footprint than conventional leather.


Beyond Just Sustainable Leather: Fair Wages and Eco-Friendly Packaging

When considering the question “what is ethically sourced leather?”, our commitment goes beyond just the materials. We ensure fair wages and healthy working conditions for all employees involved in our production process, upheld by our status as a WRAP-certified Gold rate supplier. To round out this cycle, our ethical leather shoes reach our customers in a consciously designed single-box packaging made from recycled and recyclable paper to reduce waste.


Ecological Restoration Initiative

With every pair of sneakers purchased, we give back to the planet through our in-house ecological restoration initiative, planting two trees in the Brazilian rainforest. From popular, ethically sourced leather shoes like our Salvas to the OCA High, we are committed to upholding the highest ethical and environmentally conscious standards of production.

Our vision is to make the world greener, one sneaker at a time.

Shop CARIUMA Shoes







Shop CARIUMA Shoes







Choose Your Location

We're a global sneaker brand, so let's make sure you're
shopping the right CARIUMA site before you add to cart.