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Sappi North America and Biophilica Partner to Launch the First Plastic-Free Leather Alternative of Its Kind

Biophilica Treekind® Leather Alternative (Photo: Business Wire)Sappi North America Inc., a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper, packaging products and pulp, announced today its innovative collaboration with Biophilica, the company behind Treekind®. Treekind is one of the only plastic free leather alternatives that is 100% biobased, home compostable, non-toxic, and PETA vegan certified, notably benefiting from Sappi’s textured release paper to give the material an ultra-realistic look and feel.

“Inclusion of plastic-containing coatings has dominated the vegan leather industry, limiting consumers with few fully sustainable choices and a material that often has a plastic-like touch inferior to the quality or feel of traditional leather,” said Mark Hittie, Director Release Business Strategy at Sappi North America. “Through our partnership and Biophilica’s continued commitment to creating an authentic leather alternative, Treekind is now a strong sustainable market opponent to natural leather products and other plastic-based vegan leathers due to its genuine look and feel.”

Understanding the important role that touch plays in consumers’ relationship with products, it was paramount for Biophilica to create a product with an authentic, non-plastic-like feel. Touch has the power to shift consumers’ minds into a deeper level of engagement – one more conducive to building a lasting relationship and connection with a brand. To help facilitate this vision in 2022, Sappi stepped in to deliver a high-fidelity, 3D, leather grain solution to impart texture to Treekind through the application of Sappi’s Ultracast Viva® release paper.

“Curating the texture of Treekind to be as close to the feel of genuine leather as possible was a top priority for our team and brand, and what ultimately led us to seek Sappi’s textured release technology,” said Biophilica Founder and CEO Mira Nameth. “We’re elated to see an impressive 85% increase in positive feedback from brand partners such as ID Genève watches and international brands via Fashion for Good.”

Available now, Treekind currently uses Sappi’s leather grain textured release papers, however, Biophilica plans to use Sappi’s other finishes and textures, including glossy and matte finishes and varying grains for potential expansion in a premium line of goods.

To learn more about Sappi and Biophilica’s partnership, please visit:

About Sappi North America, Inc. Sappi North America, Inc., headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. Our four diversified businesses – high-quality Graphic Papers, Dissolving Pulp, Packaging, and Specialty Papers deliver premium products and services with consistent quality and reliability. Our high-quality Coated Printing Papers are used for premium magazines, catalogs, books, direct mail and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Dissolving Pulp, which is used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods. We deliver sustainable Packaging and Specialty Papers for luxury packaging and folding carton applications with our single-ply packaging brands and for the food and label industries with our specialty papers. We are one of the world’s leading suppliers of Casting and Release Papers with lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries.

Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries.

Publication date: 20/03/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.