| ||company: Couro Vegetal da Amazônia; AmazonLife|
product: vegetal leather
distribution: in several European countries
company: Couro Vegetal da Amazônia Project started as a project for developing local communities of rubber tappers in Amazonia and gave birth to the Treetap vegetal leather. By working to develop, produce, and commercialise the innovative wild rubber product, the project contributes to improving the quality of life in rubber tapping communities. AmazonLife produces apparel and home products made from Treetap®.
products: TreeTap is sold as either raw material or manufactured into products such as purses, bags, furniture, or other accessories (it has also been bought by Hermes Paris for bags).
All the Treetap® material undergoes a strict quality control, specially prepared by AmazonLife. This has been developed in collaboration with rubber specialist chemists. Each Treetap® sheet is inspected on the basis of seven criteria in order to ensure its uniformity, durability and strength.
prices: TreeTap products are truly stunning, and feature mainly assorted bags and purses, though also available is a limited selection of accessories such as a sleek but handy wallet (US$33), coin, pencil, and cosmetic cases ($9-$32), and a stylin’ ‘coconut hat’ ($17.50). With bags that range from simple-yet-cool briefcases ($41-$44) and a duffel-style travel bag ($84) to the ultra-chic purse collection ($28-$75) and some urban-style backpacks, they’ve got something for everyone.
sustainability features: Treetap is a partner of the Wild Rubber Project, which aims at producing and marketing rubber products made in a sustainable way. The production of Treetap is an economic alternative for the rubber tapper populations, contributing to the valorisation of their traditional cultures and the preservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity of their native lands and reserves. Today, the communities work in 32 production units within the forest and have a guarantee that they can produce and sell 40,000 sheets of wild rubber laminates per year at ten times the previous price. Everyone involved in production is guaranteed a decent wage by the company's fair trade policy and tappers are co-owners of a patented process, turning out material for accessories now found in some of the world's most exclusive boutiques. With some 200 families – approximately 1000 people – involved so far, the product's economic success has allowed for people to improve their quality of life, improved access to citizenship and credit – a notorious obstacle faced by the poor in Brazil, where many people have no identification documents and receive no money for their work. It is done in a way that respects both the environment and their traditional cultures.
The forest units are now undergoing FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, ensuring the long-term sustainable production of wild rubber.