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Gucci launches 'eco-friendly' handbags
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Gucci launches 'eco-friendly' handbags

Italian luxury goods company Gucci has teamed up with Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge for a line of handbags produced with Rainforest Alliance-certified leather.

Leather is one of the largest byproducts of South American cattle farming, alongside environmental damage. According to Sabrina Vigilante, director of Strategic Initiatives at the Rainforest Alliance, "agricultural conversion for cattle production is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon."

It's not just the deforestation that's a problem -- the amount of energy that goes into producing a natural hide is around 20 times that is needed for a synthetic substitute. Still, a number of groups are seeking to help limit the impacts associated with leather production.

This new line of Gucci bags is the first ever to be produced with the Rainforest Alliance-certified leather, which is produced under strict controls in order to limit deforestation and protect wildlife habitats. The certification also seeks to ensure that farmers provide ethical treatment to livestock and also help promote and maintain the rights and health of their workers. The leather is all produced by the Fazendas São Marcelo group of four ranches located in the Mato Grosso state of Western Brazil.

The new bags appear in 'Tote', 'Jackie' and 'Hobo' styles. They will go on sale at select Gucci stores around the world and will be available online at in the US and Europe. Each gorgeous bag features a bamboo tassel and comes with a Gucci GCC 'passport' which documents the origin and traceability of the bag.

Livia Firth, the eco-campaigner and wife of Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth, established Green Carpet Challenge to help to raise awareness of environmental issues in the fashion world and support the work of ethical fashion brands.

Eco-friendly leather is set to become a growing trend. Embellished Truth uses eco-friendly leather, which is vegetable-tanned in Europe, while Heidi Mottram makes her leather goods from environmentally friendly discarded eel skins, which are 150% stronger than cowhide of the same thickness.


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