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New study shows major fashion brands linked to Amazon deforestation

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-11-30 11:51:01 – USA

New research into the fashion industry’s complex global supply chains reveals that a number of large fashion brands are at risk of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, based on their connections to tanneries and other companies involved in the production of leather and leather goods.

The analysis, which was issued on Monday, looked through roughly 500,000 rows of customs data and discovered that labels including Coach, LVMH, Prada, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Teva, UGG, and Fendi have several ties to the Amazon deforestation sector.

More than 50 brands have various supply-chain ties to JBS, Brazil's largest leather exporter, which is infamous for deforestation in the Amazon. JBS recently pledged to achieve zero deforestation across its global supply chain by 2035, a goal criticized by environmentalists as insufficient.

Stand.earth, a supply chain research business, conducted the investigation. The results are surprising, in part because some of the firms polled have lately declared plans to detangle themselves from supply chain actors who contribute to deforestation.

Greg Higgs, one of the report's researchers, said that a third of the companies questioned having some type of policy in place, that to have an influence on deforestation. Because the rate of deforestation is increasing, the policies are having no significant impact.

The researchers intend to expand their research into other businesses that rely significantly on leather, such as the automobile industry, in the future.

According to forecasts, the fashion industry will need to butcher 430 million cows yearly by 2025 in order to maintain supplying consumers with wallets, handbags, and shoes.

Their findings do not prove a direct link between each fashion brand and Amazon deforestation; rather, they discovered links that enhance the likelihood that any given clothing comes from cattle ranching in the Amazon, which is recognized as the area's leading cause of deforestation.

The study lists fashion firms that engage in the Leather Working Group or other voluntary commitments but emphasizes that the Leather Working Group only assesses tanneries on their capacity to trace leather down to slaughterhouses, not farms.

Jungwon Kim, vice-president of strategy at Slow Factory, a climate justice non-profit that cooperated on the report said that the goal is to build a clear plan [for the fashion sector] to eliminate the loopholes.

The survey looked at 84 companies, and 23 of them had clear deforestation policies. Based on their findings, the researchers believe those 23 companies are "possibly" breaking their own policies. LVMH, for example, was deemed to have a high chance of being linked to Amazon deforestation, despite the fact that the brand promised to safeguard the endangered region alongside Unesco earlier this year.

Sônia Guajajara, executive coordinator of the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance (APIB), said that brands have "the moral responsibility, the influence, and the economic resources to stop working with suppliers who contribute to deforestation in the Amazon today, "not in 10 years, not in 2025."

Indigenous groups claim that President Jair Bolsonaro forcibly evicted Indigenous peoples to make room for agricultural, mining, and other economic operations as a result of recent flames in the Amazon.

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