Several Brands Have Stopped Buying Brazilian Leather in the Wake of the Amazon Wildfires
The bans come after increased concerns over the involvement of the cattle industry in the fires
The devastating Amazon wildfires dominated news headlines this summer (rightly so) and the fallout from the disaster is still continuing.
Overnight, H&M has announced that it has temporarily banned the purchase of Brazilian leather over concerns that the cattle industry is involved in deforestation practices in the world’s largest rainforest.
In a statement to Forbes, a spokesperson for the brand said the ban will be enforced “until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon.”
H&M isn’t the only company to take a stand with VF Corp. (which owns Timberland, Vans and North Face) announcing similar measures across the weekend. An official statement from the brand said it would cease the purchase of Brazilian leather “until we have the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country.”
It is widely agreed by scientists that the fires ravaging the Amazon are the result of human intervention and it is suspected they were lit as part of Brazil’s deforestation industry (linked to cattle ranching and soy production).
In response to the bans, Mat Jacobson, a senior director at DC-based environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth, told Forbes, “These companies have taken a meaningful, concrete step that ensures they are not complicit in the destruction of the Amazon but also, more importantly, removes the financial incentive for burning it down. We hope that other companies will follow their lead.”
Earlier today, Reuters announced that seven Amazon countries have signed a pact to protect the forest and coordinate their responses to fires. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname have all agreed to “increase satellite monitoring of deforestation, share information on threats to the forest like illegal mining, develop reforestation and education initiatives and increase the participation of Indigenous communities,” EcoWatch reports.