Major fashion brands including H&M, Vans and Timberland have temporarily banned orders on Brazilian leather over concerns about the environmental impact of cattle rearing in the Amazon.
Brands have taken action following global outcry against fires burning across sections of the Brazilian region of the Amazon.
While fires started by natural causes in the rainforest are common during the summer months, many are believed to have been started deliberately to clear land for cattle rearing in the area.
Last month, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research warned there had been an 84% increase in the number of fires compared with the same period in 2018.
In response to global condemnation of the deforestation, VF Corporation – parent company to brands such as Vans and Timberland – and H&M have temporarily halted orders of Brazilian leather.
In a statement to Quartz, VF Corporation said the amount of leather it procures from Brazil is minimal, but it can no longer ensure that this leather complies with its responsible sourcing requirements.
“Therefore, VF Corporation and our brands have decided to no longer directly source leather and hides from Brazil for our international businesses until we have the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country,” it said.
Last week, H&M announced it would also implement a temporary ban due to the fires and the “connections to cattle production”.
“The ban will be active until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon,” a spokesperson for the brand said.
Campaign group Fashion Revolution called for transparency from fashion brands about how they source leather from Brazil.
It said: “As the devastation caused by clearing the rainforest for cattle rearing is increasingly condemned globally, it is not good enough for brands not to give full disclosure on the sourcing of their raw materials, particularly leather.”
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