H&M, Zara, Nike & More Could Be 'Deforesting' the Amazon - The Guardian
Your favorite brands could be contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Slow Factory, an environmental activism non-profit organization in collaboration with Stand.earth, published a report Monday which exposes the role of 'Big Fashion' in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Coach, Prada, LVMH, Zara, H&M, Nike, Adidas, Fendi, UGG, Teva, New Balance, and more have a multitude of connections with another giant which has been largely responsible for the deforestation of Amazon, JBS.
JBS is the largest exporter of Brazilian leather, and although the company vowed to achieve zero deforestation by 2035 in its supply chain, many have deemed this vow insufficient.
The report analyzed some 500,000 rows of data which came to its conclusions - the striking fact is that the companies found to have these connections are the companies that have very recently announced their 'efforts' to work on the deforestation issue surrounding their production. 23 out of the 84 companies which were mentioned in the report had clear stances on deforestation. However, researchers speculated that the 23 companies could likely be breaking those policies.
“With a third of companies surveyed having some kind of policy in place, [you’d expect] that would have an impact on deforestation,” said Greg Higgs, a researcher who contributed to the report. “The rate of deforestation is increasing, so the policies have no material effect.”
According to research, the cattle industry is a main contributor to deforestation: the fashion industry alone requires the killing of 430,000,000 cows per year to feed the leather industry shoes, bags, wallets, jackets and more.
The analysis, furthermore, did not directly link fashion brands to the deforestation of the Amazon: The research was rather based on the probability that clothing items were extracted from cattle in the Amazon rainforest - an industry known for its colossal impact.
Recently, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has foribly removed indigenous populations from the Amazon in order to monetize the land for agriculture, mining and other industries which could bring profit.
Celine Semaan, CEO and co-founder of Slow Factory, said companies should not use this situation to escape and contribute to deforestation in another place - for example, Guatemala and Mexico - but rather take this opportunity to invest and explore alternatives that are not exploitative.
“At the end of the day, we have to find other solutions and other alternative leathers that are not animal-based and that are not plastic-based,” said Semaan. “With the resources that fashion companies have, there’s really no excuse.”