Fashion and footwear brands being linked to Amazon deforestation

aerial view of green trees

Stand.Earth released a new report that highlighted the potential role of the largest fashion companies in contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. This included Zara, Nike and LVMH as well as Adidas. The single biggest driver of deforestation is the cattle industry. This includes leather procurement.

Fashion and deforestation

The report Nowhere to Hide, How the Fashion Industry Is Linked to Amazon Rainforest Deconstruction states that 6.7 million hectares have been lost in the Brazilian Amazonian rainforest between 2011 and 2020. Cattle ranching in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for nearly 2 percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. This figure is comparable to all global airplane flight emissions.

Image: Stand.Earth

Brazilian slaughterhouses make over 1.1 billion dollars a year from leather. Exports account for 80 percent of Brazil’s bovine leather products. Brazil has more than 215 million cattle. There is evidence that the majority of Brazilian deforestation is illegal.

JBS, a Brazilian leather and beef conglomerate, is responsible for the most Amazon rainforest destruction. According to the report, fashion brands that source directly from JBS through leather processors are linked to Amazon rainforest destruction.

More than 500,000 rows were analysed Research Group analysed almost 500,000 rows customs data from multiple data sources and cross-referenced it with data from other sources to uncover hidden supply chains linking fashion and Amazon rainforest deforestation.

The report was published in November. More than 100 brands were believed to have supply chains connections with various companies, including leather tanneries and leather processors.

aerial view of green trees

Major fashion brands, including H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, Prada, Marks &Spencer, etc. could contribute to the Amazon rainforest deforestation. According to the report, 22 of the 74 companies could be violating their policies against deforestation and sourcing leather from it. The remaining two-thirds of the companies have no policies at all.

According to the report, some fasthion brands conceal behind the Leather Working Group (LWG). The LWG promises to address deforestation in future. However, currently they only rate tanning companies on their ability to trace leather back from slaughterhouses and not to farms. They also don’t provide any information about whether the slaughterhouses are directly or indirectly linked to deforestation.

LWG certification does not guarantee that leather supply chains are deforested-free. Article source: Nowhere To Hide: How the Fashion Industry Is Connected to Amazon Rainforest Deconstruction

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