27 July 2009 | Helen Gilbert
Nike is to bring in strict new rules for its suppliers of leather from Brazil in a bid to slow the rate of Amazon deforestation.
The sports giant will require vendors of Brazilian leather to certify, in writing, that they are supplying leather for Nike products from cattle raised outside the Amazon rainforest and its related ecosystem.
In June, Greenpeace identified that cattle used for meat production and leather as a by-product of this, are contributors to Amazon deforestation as farmers cut down the rainforest to create areas for grazing.
Suppliers to Nike have until 1 July 2010 to create an "ongoing, traceable and transparent" system. The brand will then review suppliers' progress in establishing this process.
If suppliers are unable to provide "credible assurances" leather used for Nike products is from cattle raised outside of the Amazon ecosystem, it will consider increasing the exclusion zone to include the entirety of the nine Brazilian states containing portions of the Amazon.
In addition, Nike will require all suppliers of leather to join the Leather Working Group - a body of NGOs, suppliers and retailers aimed at improving conditions in the leather industry - by the end of this year.