On 12th September 2023, the computer giant Apple announced it would no longer make leather iPhone cases, Watch bands, and other accessories, replacing it with FineWoven, a micro-twill textile made up of 68% post-consumer recycled material.
Apple describes FineWoven as having a soft, “suede-like” texture that will come in a variety of colours. The company said it had worked with band makers like Nike and Hermes to create more sustainable third-party bands as well. Also, the company is working with manufacturers toward powering its facilities with 100% clean energy.
The animal rights organisation PETA said to Vegan FTA that “they did confirm to us in 2016 that they would not sell exotic-animal skin watch bands, at which time we also asked them to stop selling leather. We were back in touch again last week when we heard that they might be finally doing that.”
Tracy Reiman, PETA Executive Vice President, said in a statement, “A vegan cake decorated with cows jumping for joy is on the way from PETA to Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, in celebration of the announcement that the brand is taking its phone cases and watchbands in an animal- and eco-friendly vegan direction. PETA pushed for this move, which will spare countless cows’ lives and should inspire holdouts, including Apple Watch collaborator Hermès, to follow the company toward a leather-free future.”
Apple is not the first major tech company that drop animal leather. In 2022, Lenovo launched ThinkPad laptops with a fully recycled vegan leather cover. The previous year HP also used vegan leather on some of its laptop covers for the first time. Incipio has offered fully compostable plant-based smartphone cases since 2020.