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Major Fashion Brands May Have Ties to Deforestation of Amazon Rainforest, Research Suggests

© Photo : Public DomainLeather
Leather - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.12.2021
In recent years, Brazil has been condemned by many world leaders for refusing to undertake decisive measures to protect the Amazon rainforests from raging wildfires and deforestation.
Customs data were said to show that big fashion brands are linked to the largest Brazilian exporter of leather JBS, known to be involved in the deforestation of the Amazon, according to research conducted by Stand.earth in partnership with the climate justice nonprofit Slow Factory.
The brands include Coach, LVMH (manufactures products from Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Guerlain), Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG and Fendi. Many of them had previously claimed that they refused to work with such companies and had adopted policies intended to minimize harm to the planet.
Meanwhile, the livestock industry is the largest contributor to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, and the fashion industry is an important consumer of leather. Analysts say that the fashion industry must slaughter 430 million cows annually by 2025 to meet the demand for wallets, bags and shoes.
A burned area of Amazon rainforest is seen in the Biological Reserve Serra do Cachimbo, at the border with the Menkragnoti indigenous reserve of the Kayapo indigenous group in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.  (AP Photo/Leo Correa) - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.11.2021
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JBS itself recently pledged to achieve zero deforestation in its global supply chain by 2035, which many environmental groups have criticized as insufficient. The report claims that the company is responsible for more than 7 million acres of deforestation over the past decade.
Responding to the accusations, JBS said in a statement that it “is fully committed to a sustainable cattle production supply chain in every region where we operate.” The company explained that it refuses to cooperate with suppliers that don’t meet with its policies against deforestation and said it uses satellite imagery that can detect them.
“JBS has no tolerance for illegal deforestation, forced labor, misuse of indigenous lands, conservation units or violations of environmental embargoes,” the statement said.
Nevertheless, all companies tied to JBS are contributors to deforestation, which is on the brink of reaching dangerous, irreversible levels, according to the report.
While Stand.earth experts admit that there are no direct connections between any particular fashion brand and deforestation, they stress that such brands are “at highest risk of driving deforestation.” The report indicates that definitive links between the brands and deforestation leather cannot be determined due to the difficulty in tracing the origins of cow hides and the limitations of NGOs such as the Leather Working Group (LWG) that are relied upon for environmental certification.
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