Jan 24, 2022 domenico Surace

Marnelo joins the fight against poaching, animal trafficking and pollution

Discover the origin of the materials we use for our luxury iPhone cases and Apple watch bands

In a world like ours, equal parts interconnected, prosperous and in danger because of climate change and biodiversity at stake, the luxury industry undoubtedly has a part to play.

Marnelo, as an actor of that industry, will always strive to do our best to limit our impact on the environment, and on the ecosystems from which we take our main resource, the exotic leather we use in making our luxury tech accessories.

To better understand our commitment, one needs to understand the threats associated with harvesting leather in uncontrolled fashion. 

What are the terrible consequences of poaching? 

Poaching, or the uncontrolled and illegal hunting of animals in order to sell their by-products (meat, teeth, skins), is widely understood as a bad, disruptive thing.

But we at Marnelo needed to understand the actual ramifications of the practice in order to make our commitments in the best, most thoughtful way possible. The first evident consequence of poaching wild animals is the critical disruption to eco-systems that it creates. Poaching is not akin to regular traditional hunting, which is small-scale, sustenance based, but rather an industrial practice that is now done with almost militarized means, machine guns and helicopters.

Notwithstanding the pollution that comes from using these tools, the consequences on the ecosystem and its biodiversity of poaching are many. For example, removing a large number of alligator specimens at once from the biosphere they occupy disrupts the natural cycle of the species, notably from a reproduction point of view. Poachers favour hunting males, who are larger than females and thus provide more 

meat, leather, and teeth, but since they are less numerous than the females, it creates an imbalance. Remaining females mate with the same males, creating inbreeding, fewer births and overall, the decrease in population because of the hunt is compounded by the long term effects of removing that many specimens. 

It also leads to the apparition of a depressed eco-system, where the role held by the species is no longer fulfilled.

In another space, elephants, who are the most poached species in the world, have a role in breaking down paths through the brush, and bringing water up to the surface with their weight, both being used later by other species in the same ecosystem.

For alligators and crocodiles, who occupy the super predator niche in their respective biospheres, their role is often as a controlling force in prey populations: when they are not there, other species they usually feed on can proliferate, and in turn exterminate others because of their own necessity to feed. This leads to an important deterioration in biodiversity, and in the environment themselves, for example creating more wastes, more vegetal proliferation in marshlands etc.

This is why Marnelo has decided that the sources for the exotic alligator leather that we use for our luxury phone cases and exotic leather watch bands, will exclusively come from farms, located in the United States.

They are thoroughly vetted by our team, and follow very strict CITES guidelines, ensuring that the animals are well treated, and that they are not taken from the ecosystems where they are needed. Furthermore, farms participate in conservation programs, much like zoos do, protecting the species through selective breeding and exchanging males and females between farms to avoid inbreeding. 

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 It is a similar case for pythons, who are not easily farmed, but whose hunting can have a lesser impact on the environment if ethically done, and protected from poaching.

The python genre actually represents a wide variety of species, with some having large numbers and others being very limited in population. The problem is that poachers hunt them indiscriminately, threatening them to extinction.

Marnelo has vowed to only use Python Reticulatus and Morulus, two sub-species that have never come close to endangered status, for our luxury exotic leather accessories.

With this choice, the removal of some specimens does not threaten the subsistence of the species and participates in the luxury industry’s shift towards better monitored sources. A less well-known effect of poaching is the important economic upheaval that it can create in local communities. If poaching did not represent a substantial financial opportunity, it wouldn’t exist, but the revenues are concentrated in very few individuals that sell the animals, and not the hunters themselves.

This means that the local economies profit very little from the trade, and furthermore, workers that could find employment in areas that actually help develop their communities, instead focus on poaching. The fact that the revenue comes from an unlawful source, it is an important opportunity for dangerous individuals to find a revenue stream. Poaching has served in the past for warlords and terrorist organization to find funding.

 In that way, markets and farms remove a possible revenue stream for poachers, and through sane accounting practices, they are being monitored so that none of that money serves violence. 

Marnelo’s commitment to reducing pollution: 100% plastic free luxury leather accessories

 Yearly pollution of the oceans by plastic rejects represents 12,7 million tons, and they have an increasing impact on the health of marine species. We have all seen the images of tortoises being strangled by plastic bags and straws, but we seldom think of the impact of microplastics, which are much smaller but get stuck in fishes’ gills and in their digestive systems.

This makes them sick, but humans who consume them as well, and reducing the use of plastic is an important stake in our industry. Furthermore, as plastics are a by-product of petroleum refinery, it has a place in the releasing of greenhouse gases. 
 Thus, Marnelo has made a commitment: there will be no plastic in our iPhone Cases, Apple Watch bands, Magsafe powerbanks or any of our products, and after more than a year of research and development, we opted for three replacement materials.

First is fiberglass, which is fully recyclable, carbon fibre plates and resins, which we select from natural origins. Ten times stronger than plastic, these materials offer exceptional resistance and will ensure the best protection for your phone.

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