With Puma’s Jochen Zeitz recently telling the Financial Times that the company could soon give up leather as a material for its shoes because of the damage it causes to the environment, we are moving even closer to a world where fashion is truly responsible and sustainable.

In a recent article on Green Biz, journalist Jennifer Inez Ward interviewed me as a follow up to the FT article. I explained that:

"Younger consumers have greater expectations around sustainability. Also, all of these  commodities are becoming more expensive, so companies have to be more creative in their thinking. And, alternatives are now becoming more cost effective.”

I’m quoted as saying that conventional cotton or fossil fuel based polyester could be among the potential replacements for conventional leather. One caveat--I actually believe recycled plastic bottles, a growing source for Nike’s apparel and shoes, are one possibility. And bioplastic resins made out of plant-based materials are another alternative that could soon hit the market.

Regardless of the exact outcome, this is an exciting time to be in the fashion industry. Companies and brands are getting it: customers want more environmentally responsible products, and yet these products have got to perform at the same level as those made out of more conventional materials. And the response by both Nike and Puma are why they rank with Ford Motor and Autodesk as among the companies I most admire.

Photo courtesy Puma.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.