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Five Facts about Fake Fur

UK / AGILITYPR.NEWS / November 07, 2019 / 5 Facts About Fossil Fuel-Derived Fake Fur – HM The Queen fur story comment – British Fur Trade Association


In light of Buckingham Palace’s clarification that HM The Queen will continue to wear real fur albeit that other items may be made using faux or plastics fur in the future and following the feature on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the British Fur Trade Association has published key facts about fossil-fuel derived, non-renewable fake fur being pushed by campaigners despite it representing ‘fast’ fashion and contributing towards the climate emergency. 


The British Fur Trade Association has highlighted 5 key facts about fake fur.


Fact 1: fake fur takes between 500 to 1,000 years to degrade. Real fur degrades at the same rate as oak, poplar, and willow leaves: tests performed to ISO 15985 and ASTM D5511 standards demonstrated that undyed mink and dyed mink partially biodegraded 25.8% and 18.3% respectively in just 30 days. Over that same period, fake fur biodegradation stood at just 0.3% ± 0.1%. (Reference: Organic Waste Systems 2018)


Fact 2: 4 in 10 are unaware that fake fur is actually made from fossil-fuel derived plastic. When polled, 42% of the British public were unaware that fake fur is made from plastic and other non-biodegradable materials, including blends of acrylic and modacrylic polymers derived from coal, air, water, petroleum, and limestone. (Reference: Populus - 2,087 adult in June 2019) 


Fact 3: fake fur epitomises the crisis of fast fashion whereas real fur lasts decades. The average lifetime for a garment is estimated to be 2.2 years in the UK and clothes with expanded lifetimes have a significantly lower environmental impact - fake fur lasts just a few short years, whereas a natural fur coat will last circa 30 years. (Reference: WRAP; DSS Management Consultants Inc. 2012)


Fact 4: fake fur means marine microplastics. Up to 35% of all primary source microplastics in the marine environment are from synthetic clothing, a single wash has the potential to release as many as 700,000 fibres, and over nine trillion fibres could be released per week in the UK. The mass of discarded clothing is estimated to be in the order of millions of tonnes. (Reference: SIFO-Akershus 2018; Boucher and Friot 2017; Cobbing and Vicaire 2016; House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee 2019) 


Fact 5: people are more likely to buy real fur that meets their environmental and welfare standards than fake fur made from single-use plastics and similar materials. When you poll those who buy any type of fur – real or fake – 31% are more likely to buy the former rather than the latter when they are aware of the standards in place and aware of what fake fur is actually made from. (Reference: Populus - 2,087 adult in June 2019) 


Giles Roca, Chief Executive, British Fur Trade Association, said:


“As confirmed by the Palace, we are pleased that the Queen will continue to wear fur garments contrary to the claims of certain groups. Natural sustainable fur that is subject to high animal welfare standards is part of the solution to the problem of fast fashion whilst faux alternatives are made from plastics that unlike natural furs are polluting and do not biodegrade and is why people are choosing to wear the real thing.


“When we are rightly taking our climate obligations seriously, it is baffling – and completely counterproductive – for misguided campaigners and apologists to be shilling for single-use plastics, fossil fuels, and non-biodegradable materials.”

About Us


The British Fur Trade Association is the voice of the UK fur sector.


Nicholas Dunn-McAfee

Public Policy and Engagement Manager


British Fur Trade Association

Phone: 02039290100