At the Tesla annual stockholders meeting last week, a husband and wife from Texas presented pleas that the company stop using real leather in its interiors. The idea seems to make some sense for Tesla, which conducts most of its business with an eye toward sustainability and recyclability.
Mark and Elizabeth Peters came all the way from Hurst, Texas to make their case against the Tesla leather interior options. Mr. Peters pointed out that several Model S interior items, such as next-generation seats, interior premium lighting and trunk lighting are only available if leather trim is ordered as well. He purchased a Model S for his wife as an anniversary present but found it difficult to have it built the way he wanted without leather seats or leather trim according to Transport Evolved.
Mrs. Peters was raised on a veal farm and feels strongly that harvesting animal skins is a cruel and environmentally damaging process. Both pointed out that BMW, Infiniti and Mercedes Benz offer synthetic leather as part of their interior options. They feel this is one area where Tesla, which leads the industry in so many categories, is lagging the competition.
Mark Peters told the meeting, “I suspect that the vast majority of our customers and even our shareholders have no idea the greatest source of greenhouse gases is actually animal agriculture, producing more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined as Elon reported back in 2006. Bill Gates noted a more recent analysis in 2013 estimated that livestock produces nearly 51% of the world’s greenhouse gases — 51%. Tesla exists to create sustainable transport and which is why this is inconsistent to offer leather.” Peters suggested the company reduce its use of leather by 5% in 2016, 30% in 2017, and 60% in 2018, leading up to a complete elimination of animal sourced materials in Tesla cars by 2019.
In her remarks at the meeting, Mrs. Peters made this impassioned statement regarding synthetic leather materials, “[They] are cruelty free, have wonderful reviews, last the long time, come in multiple colors and have — and involve far less greenhouse gases.” she said. “Mr. Musk, given the potential risk to our planet, please review the facts and start forcing the ordering of leather. Please adopt environmentally friendly interiors; our planet doesn’t have decades to spare. Thank you.”
While the official results of the voting at the shareholders meeting has not been released publicly, the company’s board of directors did issue a statement in which it asked voters to disapprove proposals to eliminate leather seats and other interior trim from its cars.
The Board of Directors has considered these proposals, each of which relates to a similar subject matter, and has determined that neither is in the best interests of the Company or its stockholders.
Tesla’s mission when it was created more than a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling and increasingly affordable electric cars to market. This is why we are building the Gigafactory, expanding our production capacity at the Tesla Factory, and developing new electric vehicles.
Achieving this mission requires that we prioritize our efforts. In some cases, this means using existing materials to meet consumer expectations, where exploring alternatives would impede or delay us. Ultimately, by focusing on our mission, we believe we will create the most possible good.
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