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Major fashion and footwear brands linked to Amazon deforestation

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Dec 6, 2021


Image: Stand.Earth

A new report by Stand.Earth has highlighted how the world’s biggest fashion companies, including, Zara, Nike, Prada, LVMH and Adidas are potential contributors to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The cattle industry, which includes the procurement of leather, is the single largest driver of deforestation.

Fashion linked to deforestation

In a study called Nowhere to Hide: How the Fashion Industry is Linked to Amazon Rainforest Deconstruction, the report says 6.7 million hectares of Brazilian Amazonian forest has been lost between 2011 and 2020. Deforestation caused by cattle ranching in the Amazon rainforest accounts for almost 2 percent of global CO2 emissions annually, equivablent to the emissions from all airplane flights globally.

Leather is a lucrative industry earning over 1.1 billion dollars in revenue for Brazilian slaughterhouses. 80 percent of bovine leather product in Brazil is exported. The country has the largest cattle herd in the world, with over 215 million animals. Evidence sugest that most deforestation in Brazil is conducted illegally.

A company called JBS is the largest leather and beef conglomerate in Brazil and the largest contributor to Amazon rainforest destruction. The report states fashion brands that are sourcing directly or indirectly from JBS via leather processors are therefore linked to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Over 500,000 rows of data were analysed

Stand.earth Research Group analysed nearly 500,000 rows of customs data obtained from multiple data providers, and cross-referenced this with data collection from other sources listed below to uncover hidden supply chains linking show and fashion brands to Amazon rainforest deforestation.

At the time of the report’s publishing, in November, over 100 brands were thought to have supply chain connections between various companies such as leather tanneries, leather processors, product manufacturers and footwear and fashion brands around the world.

Major fashion brands, including H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, Prada, Marks & Spencer, etc. are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The report’s data suggests 22 of the 74 companies are potentially breaching their own policies and against sourcing leather form deforestation. The other two-thirds have no relevant policies in place at all.

Some fasthion brands hide behind the Leather Working Group (LWG), says the report. While the LWG claims it will address deforestation in the future, they currently only rate tanneries on their ability to trace leather back to slaughterhouses, not back to farms, nor do they provde any information on whether or not the slaughterhouses are linked to deforestation.

LWG certification therefore does not guarantee deforestation-free leather supply chains.

Article source: Nowhere to Hide: How the Fashion Industry is Linked to Amazon Rainforest Deconstruction
Image: Stand.Earth