For Ultrafabrics Holdings Co. supplying seating material to Tesla Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and furniture makers isn't just good for the environment, it's a potentially lucrative, though challenging, business.
The goal for Noboru Yoshimura, 60, president of the Tokyo-based manufacturer, is to make the company's name synonymous with synthetic leather. "More and more people are using our leather," he said in an interview. "We're consciously developing premium products, and that strategy is in line with the times."
For years, leather made from processed cowhides or sheepskin was seen as a premium option for car buyers. Now, environmentally conscious consumers are seeking out products that don't involve the slaughter of animals, such as plant-based meat. Airlines are turning to the leather-like material to take advantage of their lower weight to save on fuel and reduce carbon emissions. As a result, the global synthetic leather market is on track to reach $67.2 billion by 2030, according to Straits Research.