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Leather Naturally appoints Debbie Burton as Chair

Chloe Burney
28 October 2022

The leather-positive non-profit global association, Leather Naturally, announced the election of Debbie Burton as Chair of the Management Board.

Leather Naturally is an organisation that spreads awareness of leather's benefits through information and education, adding: "Properly made and sourced leather is a truly sustainable material. Hides and skins are mostly a by-product that is dependent on the meat and dairy industry."

Debbie Burton stepped into the role after six years of leading the communications team and strategy in a voluntary capacity. She is the current Director of Marketing at Pittards, a brand established in 1826 to develop performance leathers for global brands. Burton also boasts 20 years of experience working in leadership positions at Timberland and Clarks.

Burton commented: “The industry is pulling together to counter the mistruths about leather and there is a sense that people are starting to look beyond simplistic and greenwashing headlines. There’s a long way to go, for every win, another frustrating article is around the corner, but it feels like a moment of opportunity and I’m both pleased and proud to represent the Management Board in this new role.”

As Burton's first order of business in the position, she led the recent launch of the #LeatherTruthfully campaign. This was designed to counter misconceptions about leather while inspiring and educating consumers on the truths of material’s role in a sustainable economy. A recent UK survey of 2,000 people, conducted by Leather UK, revealed only 24% of people are aware that hides and skins are a by-product of the food industry that would otherwise go to waste. In addition, only 54% of people are not aware of ‘Vegan Leather’s’ composition or the fact it can be plastic and harmful to the planet.

The campaign secured the support of fashion industry titans such as Anya Hindmarch, who commented: “I am a supporter of the #LeatherNaturally campaign and its mission to shine a light on sustainable leather production. I think we need to trust in and return to nature as much as we can. Leather is an incredible, natural, waterproof, flexible, durable material that should not be wasted and has an important place in any circular economy.”

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