In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed the Waterstones website www.waterstones.com and found that the company sold leather-bound books, however, it was not considered to form a substantial part of its business. As a result the company lost half a mark under Ethical Consumer’s Animal Rights category.
It also lost half a mark Pollution and Toxics category for the following reason. Leather, as the hide of a dead animal, naturally decomposes. To prevent this decomposition the leather industry uses a cocktail of harmful chemicals to preserve leather, including trivalent chromium sulphate, sodium sulphide, sodium sulfhydrate, arsenic and cyanide. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge and acids. These can all pollute the land, air and water supply, making it a highly polluting industry.
https://www.waterstones.com/ (2 August 2018)