The Arguments For A Climate-Positive UK Sheepskin Industry

Mark Raymond Sunday, 1 November 2020

Mark Raymond, owner of Organic Sheepskins and UK sheep farmer at Neville Farm, joins us to explain how he came to own this certified organic farm and run a certified organic tanning process producing sheepskin rugs and products for wide-ranging clients.

We dive straight away into the state of sheep farming in the UK, with insight into the high animal welfare standards and traceability of these byproduct fleeces. The farm is also 'carbon positive', and Mark explains what regenerative agriculture is for his farm, and the case for it being possible to help combat climate change. We also controversially look at veganism, and the affect of this lifestyle/ethical choice on production and marketing of leather alternatives, along with arguments for plant-based people being open to witnessing how Organic Sheepskins are benefitting the system.

This is a two part lesson: in part two, you can discover what the organic tanning process actually is, what makes it certifiably organic, and pricing structure for such products. These two lessons should give you a fresh and unique perspective on a side of the industry that is usually behind closed doors.


    **Please be aware that the video and key takeaways contain descriptions of processes within the leather and meat industries.**    


In this lesson you'll learn:

  • Who Organic Sheepskins are, and how they came to own their farm and tannery
  • Who their customers are, and what their clients do with the tanned skins
  • Where their skins come from, and why there is such high demand for organic skins
  • Considerations for regenerating a carbon positive farm, and how this fits into fashion
  • How the farm and tannery are certified organic
  • What the benefit in organically-rearing animals is
  • The need to educate and engage on leather, meat and skin production
  • Why the UK has such high animal welfare standards
  • The drawbacks with leather alternatives when compared to responsible UK leather
  • Advice for you as a designer or maker in sourcing your materials and working with a supply chain

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Next Lesson

  • The Organic Sheepskin Tanning Process

    with Mark Raymond
    Summary

    We continue on our lesson with Mark Raymond, owner of Neville Farm and Organic Sheepskins, to understand how the organic tanning process differs to a conventional one, and what the benefits and drawbacks are either way. We look specifically at the steps taken to organically tan a raw sheepskin, the certifications that validate the organic claims (for the farm and for the process), and what the pricing structure is like for such a product. Mark also explains why his sheepskins are not suitable for fashion - or at least in their current form - with examples of sheepskins so that you can visualise the varying possible applications for such a material.

    This is part two of Mark's lessons, with the first one covering the UK sheepskin industry, and how regenerating land and working organically can positively impact the climate. Find Part One here.


      **Please be aware that the video and key takeaways contain descriptions of processes within the leather and meat industries.**  

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