Follow the National Wildlife Federation as we travel around the world, from Brazil to China, to promote market-based solutions to deforestation in the Amazon and other tropical regions. We’re working to engage international producers, retailers and consumers to address the “forest footprints” of key agricultural products, including leather sourced from the Brazilian Amazon. To learn more, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
Working Towards Company Commitments to Deforestation-Free Leather
Understanding the Problem
The razing of rainforests to make way for cattle ranching drives 80% of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon–the world’s largest tropical rainforest, which supports one-third of all plant and animal species. In the last 12 months Brazil exported $1.5 billion of leather, one-third of which went to China. A large proportion of the shoes, apparel and accessories manufactured in China are then sold in the United States.
Identifying a Solution
The National Wildlife Federation has recognized that in order to fight deforestation, we need to work with companies at all levels of the leather supply chain to find a solution to this problem that works for all.
Members of our team recently traveled to Hong Kong to meet with the world’s leading leather industry players at Asia’s largest leather trade show, and to promote Deforestation-Free Leather.
Getting Companies On Board
At the APFL Fashion Access & Leather and Materials trade show in Hong Kong we shared information on industry-side solutions to deforestation for cattle expansion in Brazil, engaging in face-to-face discussions with international producers and brands using and marketing leather from Brazil.
At the adjoining EcoTrends in Leather conference, NWF represented the many voices of our members and supporters who care about rainforest protection, along with other speakers who presented on emerging ‘green trends’ in the leather industry. These standards, if adopted by tanneries and committed to by major brands, will allow for more environmentally sustainable leather production that has a reduced impact on rainforests.
Achieving Deforestation-Free Leather
Following the EcoTrends in Leather conference, the international Leather Working Group, a group of shoe and apparel manufacturers, tanneries, producers, and non-governmental organizations, brought together big-name brands including Nike, Adidas, and Timberland, to agree on a new set of standards for leather production that call for all Brazilian hides they use to be traceable to ranches not clearing rainforests in the Amazon.
Finally, it may be possible to end Amazon destruction for cattle. But many companies are still not on-board, and hurdles remain on-the-ground in Brazil that we all have yet to tackle. These are exciting times!
Check out our video on the connection between the Amazon rainforest and products we use each day!