Is your leather bag causing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest?

However, the organization argues that there is a high risk that leather from these brands will cause deforestation in the Amazon. “Overall, Brazil accounts for about 20% of all tanned leather exports in the world,” Higgs says. “The main countries he goes to are China and Italy – Brazil accounts for 41% of tanned leather imports from China and 36% from Italy – suggest[ing] that any leather product made in China or Italy has a very high risk of being tied to Brazil and [therefore] Amazon deforestation.

It should be borne in mind that 30% of the companies named in the report have policies in place against deforestation, including H&M, which has banned sourcing of leather from Brazil since 2019. “Although we take These claims very seriously, we don’t think there is a high risk that our leather supply will contribute to Amazon deforestation, ”a spokesperson for the H&M group said in a statement. “For now, we have not yet found any link with Brazil in our leather supply chain, but we are fully aware of the challenges of traceability, and therefore we are engaging with other stakeholders such than Textile exchange to make industry-wide progress. Vogue also contacted LVMH and Prada for comment.

JBS said the Stand.earth report does not prove a link between products sold by JBS and deforestation in the Amazon. The company added in a statement, “JBS is fully committed to a sustainable beef production supply chain in every region where we operate. In Brazil, for more than 10 years, the company has maintained a geospatial monitoring system that uses satellite imagery to monitor its suppliers in each biome.

The statement continued, “JBS has no tolerance for illegal deforestation, forced labor, the misuse of indigenous lands, conservation units or violations of environmental embargoes. To date, JBS has proactively blocked over 14,000 supplier farms for non-compliance with our policies and standards, and we will continue to take further action as necessary. “

Many luxury fashion brands are now listed in the Leather Working Group, which certifies whether leather manufacturers meet “best environmental standards”. But Stand.earth says it doesn’t go far enough. “What it doesn’t do is verify that your leather is free from deforestation,” comments Higgs. (The Leather Working Group said that “deforestation is an area of ​​particular interest, and LWG’s vision for the future is to 100% deforestation and conversion leather [meaning land has not been converted for the purpose of producing leather]”.)

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