SDG 12: Commerce SDG 14: Below Water SDG 9: Industry+Innovation

For your next leather jacket

Ask your designer about fish-waste skin from this Iceland company, and help reduce overfishing while you're at it

The Entry

This is a remarkable innovation that makes us more resilient across a variety of fronts, most notably easing pressures caused by food waste, overfishing, other animal resources, and energy.

Overfishing alone is ginormous. According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organization, an astonishing 80%-90% of the world’s fish stocks are at or near depletion, with consumption still growing thanks to developing-country growth. This Bloomberg story┬ápaints the ugly picture.

As climate change accelerates and interrupts food supplies, we will find ourselves wishing for some fishing and just not finding it.

Iceland’s Atlantic Leather has a partial answer, and an important example: instead of fishing to make leather off those poor animals’ skin, use the skin of discarded fish after dinner! (Why didn’t I think of that, right?) At least this way, fish is harvested for your fork, not for your shoes.

Producers of leather from reptiles and other land-based animals should take note, particularly given the multi-trillion dollar size of the industry.

The Story

Turning food waste into exotic leather

By Sustainia, Global Opportunity Explorer, 20 February 2018.

Highlight: “None of the fish used to make this alternative leather are farmed for their hides. Instead, the skins used are byproducts of food processing. This means that the leather does not negatively impact fish stocks and ocean biodiversity.”

Here’s a video from the story:


Atlantic is one of many. Newton Owino of Kenya is also in the game.


Long-time green-economy and business journalist, sustainability analyst and communications executive, including 14 years as reporter and editor of Caribbean Business in Puerto Rico, five years as Sustainability Director at two banks on the island, general manager of a green marketing agency, and since 2014 independent strategist, blogger, consultant, freelance writer, and now Editor-Publisher of The Resilience Journal and Founder-President of COMMON Future, a climate-adaptation studio scaling game-changing Next Resilience with communications, construction and culture. Alex is also communications adviser to the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and resilience lead at the Puerto Rico chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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