Leather will never be an animal-friendly product: It is made of dead animal skin. However, the skin used to make leather comes from animals raised for their meat. In that sense, it uses a byproduct from another industry, so it doesn’t actually need additional land and resources.
Conventional leather is heavily criticized for the environmental impact of the tanning process. But leather can also be eco-friendly. There are not many options in the market yet, but they do exist. These include Ecolife™ by Green Hides, which creates eco-friendly, chrome-free leather in Italian tanneries that recycle and purify wastewater.
The Leather Working Group is also promoting sustainable environmental practices within the leather industry.