Vegan leather from sugarcane: PETA sees potential in India's agri-waste

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New Delhi:  Animal rights group PETA India on Wednesday said India's position as a major global sugarcane producer offers significant opportunities for expanding the use of sugarcane-based vegan leather.

The organisation highlighted that India's vast sugarcane production could be leveraged to effectively utilise sugarcane waste through technology developed by PA Footwear P Ltd, a company specialising in vegan leather alternatives.

India, the world's second-largest sugar producer after Brazil, grows sugarcane in 55-60 million hectares area.

"India is one of the largest producers of sugarcane globally, so PA Footwear P Ltd's technology presents a significant opportunity to utilise sugarcane waste effectively," PETA India said in a statement.

PA Footwear P Ltd, in partnership with the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, has developed Vegan Virya, a leather alternative made primarily from sugarcane. The material has received "PETA-Approved Vegan" certification from PETA India.

PA Footwear Vice Chair Chinnasami Anbumalar said, "Vegan Virya comprises over 95 per cent plant-based elements, prominently sugarcane bagasse, complemented by a 60 per cent agro waste content."

Several Indian companies are adopting more sustainable and ethical practices in the fashion industry.

Virgio, a brand launched by former Myntra CEO Amar Nagaram, and Allen Solly of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd are among the companies joining the vegan trend.

PETA India Chief Corporate Liaison Ashima Kukreja urged more companies to embrace vegan materials, citing leather and wool as major pollutants in the fashion industry.

Other Indian retailers that have received PETA's vegan certification include Lusso Lifestyle, IMARS Fashion, and The CAI store.

Industry analysts suggest that the move towards vegan leather could help India capitalise on its agricultural strengths while meeting growing consumer demand for sustainable fashion options.