The environmental impact of European industries is of concern to all current and future citizens in Europe. The environmental impact of the fur sector largely comes down to two areas: manure from the animal farms and the use of chemicals in the processing of the raw fur skins.

As all other textile products, fur is strictly regulated by the European Commission’s REACH legislation (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). The legislation restricts the use of dangerous chemicals and applies to both European manufactured textiles as well as textiles imported from non-EU countries.

The handling of manure from European fur farms is regulated in the individual European countries through national legislation on manure management on animal farms.

The fur production however, has a number of environmentally friendly attributes:

  • Fur products have incredibly long life spans, often most 20-30 years, before the possible re-modelling and sale through second hand shops. It yields a huge environmental benefit when the environmental impact of any given product can be distributed over a long period of time.
  • Carcasses from the European fur production are processed at European bio plants and utilised in the production of second generation bio fuels. Rich in protein the animal fat is used for green energy heating purposes and in the production of cosmetics.
  • The feed used at European fur farms is composed of waste products from the human food production.

A number of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have been produced about the European fur sector. As a part of Fur Europe sustainability policy development a review of all existing data on the environmental performance of the European fur sector has been initiated in the fall 2015. The long term objective is to analyse data gaps, collect data and assess the environmental performance of fur with proven methodologies. Ultimately, a new LCA on the European fur sector will work as a tool to strengthen the environmental performance of fur.