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Ethical sourcing of raw materials

If you have clicked onto this page you are probably interested in using products that are environmentally friendly and perhaps are worried that animals are being raised simply to use their skins; if so read on…

William Cowley strongly believe in environmentally sound business practices, including an ethical approach to sourcing raw materials and using environmentally sound production methods.

The cattle, goat and sheep skins used for parchment are all obtained from farms where livestock has been reared for wool, milk or meat. No animals are bred to make parchment. The cost of rearing farm animals just for their skins would simply be prohibitive in any case, as typically, the value of cattle hides, sheep and goat skins represents in the region of just 5-15% of the market value of an animal.

Ever since man first domesticated animals for food and milk the skins have been a by-product, a renewable natural resource, available for ‘recycling’. They are mostly made into leather for shoes, clothing, furniture coverings and accessories; some are even needed for making artificial limbs! Parchment and Vellum making represents a further specialized use. Like the leather industry, parchment making utilises hides and skins which would, if the industry did not exist to process them, create an enormous waste disposal problem with the attendant health hazards!

The maintenance of high animal welfare and hygiene standards are important to us as a company, not only from a moral stance but also because high welfare standards make commercial sense to us anyway! We recognise that the quality of the hides and skins we receive reflects the health, welfare and husbandry conditions, which have applied during the life of the animal. The quality, efficiency and profitability of our operations depend significantly upon the quality and consistency of the raw materials that we source.

William Cowley believes in environmentally sound business practices including responsible production methods. The simple technology and handwork employed to transform a discarded skin into an extremely durable and attractive writing material uses no huge power supply. It therefore does not pollute the atmosphere with harmful emissions and does not use harmful chemicals.