Apple Wins PETA’s ‘Company of the Year’ Award for Industry-Shifting Leadership on Leather Use

For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Cupertino, Calif.

In a seismic shift from the old days of cowhide and crocodile-skin watchbands, millions of watches sold next year will be leather-free, thanks to a pledge from Apple Inc.—which sold more than 50 million smartwatches in 2022 and is the largest company in the world—to throw out leather and to expand its use of recycled materials with lower carbon footprints, including its FineWoven microtwill. The move has earned Apple PETA’s 2023 Company of the Year Award.

award certificate featuring a cow naming apple inc. as peta's 2023 company of the year

“Apple’s stock has risen among conscientious consumers who appreciate that it has taken the lead in reducing its carbon footprint and saving cows from being slaughtered for watchbands and phone cases,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “It was high time a company stepped up, and Apple did, making it PETA’s Company of the Year for a policy that we trust other corporations will now emulate.”

Animal agriculture—which includes the leather industry, a major part of meat and dairy profit margins—is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The World Bank reports that cattle ranching has caused over 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest since 1970, and because of fires—many of which are deliberately set to clear land to raise cows and grow crops to feed them—along with hotter temperatures and droughts, parts of the Amazon are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they can absorb. In addition, turning skin into leather requires significant energy and dangerous chemicals, including formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and cyanide-based oils, dyes, and finishes.

PETA entities have released eyewitness videos revealing how animals suffer for leather, including calves who are branded on the face and cows who are routinely beaten and electroshocked. Many cows are sent to slaughter on long journeys by boat and truck, in which they suffer from severe crowding, disease, and lack of food and water.

Past winners of PETA’s Company of the Year Award include Stray, Good Catch, Support + Feed, Save the Duck, WeWork, Netflix, Beyond Meat, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Bangkok, Daiya, and Emulate.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter)

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