Timeless and enduring, leather’s appeal is undeniable. It is also the best choice for our environment.

In every decision we make, Cortina Leathers considers the earth we all share. We continually evaluate and adjust our business approaches to ensure we are operating in a way that protects our environment and each other.

Cortina Leathers Leads the Industry

Cortina Leathers has consistently led the industry in making changes to reduce the environmental footprint of our finishing facility in Ohio, and we are continuously improving.

  • We use only water-based, solvent-free chemicals, which emit less
    than 10% of the permissible EPA VOC’s + HAPs.
  • We pioneered the use of chrome-free leathers in the U.S.
  • Scrap leather is sent to companies to produce small leather goods,
    eliminating leather waste.
  • We re-use the heat from our manufacturing equipment to heat the
    manufacturing facility, reducing our energy use.
  • Our plant was retrofitted with high-efficiency lighting, reducing
    energy usage for lighting by 80%.
  • We offer dedicated parking and chargers for electric vehicles.
  • Our on-site waste-water treatment operation is state-of-the-art,
    consistently exceeding permit standards.
  • We recycle all paper, plastics and packaging materials.

100% of upholstery leather is a by-product of the food industry—not a single animal is raised for its hide. Currently 18% of hides are not up-cycled into leather for use
in upholstery, shoes, garments, etc., and are thus disposed of in landfills. Just as prehistoric humans hunted for meat but used the hides for shelter and clothing, we save this valuable material from the waste stream and produce a naturally beautiful, versatile and long-lasting product.


Leather is an organic, natural product made by animals and as such is a renewable resource which is biodegradable. Substitutes for leather such as vinyl (Poly Vinyl Chloride or PVC) and faux leathers (polyurethanes) sold under the names such as vegan leather, pleather, eco leather, etc. are considered more hazardous to the environment at each stage in their lifecycle. They are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. All leather substitutes are man-made in a chemical intensive process which can release harmful toxins and use hazardous chemicals such as phthalates as plasticizers. Unlike genuine leather, at end of life they are not easily biodegradable, lasting hundreds of years in landfills or in our oceans.


The longevity of leather is unmatched by any other upholstery material. In harsh applications such as commercial aviation, leather lasts 4 to 6 times longer than fabric, vinyl and faux leather (polyurethane), dramatically reducing the amount of upholstery material used over time.

Our Certifications. Our Commitments.

We are proud that Cortina Leathers has been recognized time and again by leading environmental agencies. Here are a few of our achievements and goals for the future.

Certified by ISO

We are proud to announce that we expect to achieve ISO 14000:1 certification in 2020. This means we will be adhering to their framework of environmental standards and achieving challenging annual goals for reductions in environmental impacts.

Rated Gold by the Leather Working Group

95% all of the hides we finish are sourced from tanneries with a Gold Rating from the Leather Working Group (LWG). Considered the standard globally for environmental certification, the LWG rating system assesses environmental compliance, social responsibility, and tannery performance across many metrics, including: Adherence to applicable local statutory regulations, environmental management systems such as ISO 14001, avoidance of restricted materials, energy and water consumption, air and noise pollution, waste management and effluent treatment, and more.

Low-VOC Gold Certified

For more than two decades, SCS has developed internationally recognized standards and a certification program aimed at spurring the highest level of air quality performance for interior products. Our leathers are SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certified for low-VOC emissions that qualify for many building rating systems including LEED v4, BREEAM, WELL Building, and Living Building Challenge.

Striving to be Future-Fit

Challenging to achieve, but right to do, we are committed to modeling our business after Future-Fit’s 23 benchmarks, including: obtaining energy from renewable sources, management of natural resources, community health, and employee health. To see all 23 benchmarks, visit the Future-Fit website.

Compliant with Eurpoean Union's REACH

Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation that addresses the production and use of chemical substances and their potential impact on both human health and the environment. Cortina Leathers is compliant with REACH regulations and our U.S. and European-produced leathers do not contain substances listed on the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern or the Authorization List.

Clear of California Propostion 65 Content

The state of California requires manufacturers to provide a clear and reasonable warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a chemical on the Prop 65 chemical list. We are proud that after extensive testing of our leathers, they have been proven to contain no reportable levels of any chemicals listed in Prop 65.

Free of Conflict Materials

Cortina Leathers products do not contain tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold. Disclosure of these conflict materials is required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Safe Disposal of Chrome 3

Chromium used in tanning is extracted and formed into nontoxic bricks for disposal in landfills. It is important to note that the Chromium 3 used in leather production is not the carcinogenic Chromium 6. Cortina Leathers offers both chrome and chrome-free leather.

Avoidance of Fire Retardents

In accordance with California AB 2998, we do not add fire retardant chemicals unless specified.