by Maya Gutierrez
What has caused Tesla to follow other companies in adopting more environmentally friendly options that can decrease their carbon footprint? Diane Cardwell discusses consumers’ increasing demand for more sustainable and animal-friendly materials and its effects on Tesla’s product offerings. She notes an accelerating trend amongst car manufacturers to appear more environmentally conscientious, something people have not traditionally associated with the auto industry. This can be viewed as a response to broader consumer demand for sustainable practices. Just as veganism and its high profile public endorsement by A-list celebrities has driven the food industry and restaurants to cater to the vegan lifestyle, the auto industry now sees value to incorporating sustainable practices in their product offerings. Well-known car companies have already begun to incorporate plant-based products into their cars, but now prospective buyers of Tesla cars, already known as a luxury car brand that has proven eco-friendly does not mean performance-challenged, are demanding that Tesla take their sustainable practices one step further.
Tesla customers, especially those that follow a vegan lifestyle, have questioned the company that prides itself on being environmentally friendly, for its use of animal products in the construction of its cars. They note that the animals whose hides are used to create those leather interiors pollute the environment with the release of greenhouse gases. At the same time, these customers want the luxurious feel of leather interiors in their cars. Customers paying such large amounts for a luxury car feel they should have the option of luxurious, but non-leather seats. For Tesla customers who desire the compromise of sustainable luxury, there is now a new option.
In the past, Tesla responded to customer complaints by providing the option of non-leather, cloth black seats. “Advocacy groups” have reached out to Tesla and influenced the company’s decision to expand its options on interior materials. Now, Tesla has an option for customers who prefer non-leather interiors’, “faux-leather.”
Leather interiors are still desired by many but there is a large demographic that prefers non-leather interiors, both options should be available for these groups to have the ability to choose their preference. It is hard to avoid animal products because so many products these days use some form of animal product. However, if people are conscious of how a product impact the environment, their demand should increasingly create choices that are more environmentally friendly.
Cardwell, D., 2016. From Tesla, a New Car Smell That Vegans Can Get Behind. The New York Times. 1-4. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/automobiles/from-tesla-a-new-car-smell-that-vegans-can-get-behind.html?ref=earth&_r=0
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