Nowhere to Hide: How the Fashion Industry Is Linked to Amazon Rainforest Destruction
The Brazilian cattle industry is the main driver of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. The industry is driven by demand for beef and leather. Brazilian leather is used by tanneries and manufacturers around the world to make countless branded consumer-facing products including footwear and high-end fashion products.
Over 100 brands have supply-chain links to Brazilian leather exporters, including JBS, the largest exporter known to engage in Amazon deforestation.
These brands include: Adidas, Nike, Coach, Prada, Zara, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, New Balance, Teva, UGG, and Fendi, which were found to have multiple connections to Amazon deforestation. Coach, for example, has 10 identified connections to Amazon deforestation.
Because of the deliberate obscurity of fashion supply chains, it is extremely difficult to prove a direct link––but each connection increases the probability of any individual garment coming from cattle ranching that caused deforestation.
Thirty percent of the companies behind these brands have explicit policies about deforestation, this means that some or all of them are likely breaching their own policies against sourcing leather from deforestation. The other two-thirds of the companies have no relevant policies in place at all.