Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez from Mexico have created plant-based sustainable artificial leather that uses cactus as raw material[i]. After extensive research and development, they created the world’s first cactus-based leather (Desserto) that is resistant, durable, versatile, and highly sustainable. They used nopal cactus, also known as prickly-pear cactus, which is grown extensively in Mexico. The flat cactus pads can be eaten when the plant is young, but as it gets older, the leaf becomes tough to eat. Nopal cactus is a common ingredient in foods in some parts of Mexico. It took two years of analysing and testing several cactus species. The mature leaves of the cactus are cut every 6–8 months and dried under the sun for three days. There is no oven or gas used to dry the leaves. The cactus requires minimal water, and no pesticides or herbicides are involved. Desserto is produced as a raw material used in fashion, furniture, and automotive industries to make products like bags, shoes, couches, and seats.
The cactus-based vegan leather is eco-friendly, sustainable, reusable, organic, biodegradable, free of leather chemicals, and long-lasting with a life of 10 years. Desserto was launched in Milan in October 2019 and has received a positive and encouraging global response. Velarde and Cázarez have won many awards, and their products have won the approval of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Many business-to-business (B2B) customers who are passionate about sustainable initiatives find this an exciting alternative to animal-based raw material. When the core values of a customer and a supplier are aligned and are further reinforced by the supplier’s products and services, it can create differentiated customer value.
Here are a few other ventures that are making strides in building sustainable solutions – Gram Oorja provides renewable energy solutions to remote villages and Taraltec provides clean water access to millions of people living in towns and villages.
URL of Desserto: https://desserto.com.mx/
[i] Kriti Saraswat-Satpathy (2020). This brand creates leather using cactus leaves [Online] April 22, 2020. Available from: https://www.architecturaldigest.in/content/world-earth-day-desserto-sustainable-vegan-cactus-leather-mexico-eco-friendly-cruelty-free/ [Accessed on: 12 Oct 2020]