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Fashion designer Stella McCartney was honored by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) last week at their 11th annual Forces for Nature benefit, for her refusal to use leather or fur in her designs.

“We believe it is important to honor individuals who understand that environmental stewardship can and should play a role in the work they do and the products they produce,” said NRDC President Frances Beinecke in a press release. “Both Stella McCartney and David Zaslav demonstrate that you can be protectors of the environment and leaders of industry at the same time. Their trailblazing work in the environmental arena raises the bar, and we hope everyone in the media and fashion world will take note and follow their lead.”

In speaking out for fur- and leather-free fashion, McCartney says she would like to see an end to the 50 million animals that are killed each year to support the fashion industry. Besides the myth that the animals are all by-products of the meat industry, there are other environmental impacts that she pointed out, such as the water and chemicals needed to tan leather.

The Benefit’s universal theme was all about green. Not only did actor Alec Baldwin, who was MC for the event, arrive in a hybrid SUV, but the menu featured local, organically-grown, sustainably harvested ingredients, the wine was organic and there was no bottled water. All these little things had a big impact.

“It’s a real honor for me,” said McCartney, “to receive this award from such a worthy organization like the NRDC, fighting to preserve our planet’s future.”

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