Stand.earth analysed almost 500,000 rows of customs data to identify where major UK brands were sourcing leather, finding that over 100 brands have one or more links to leather suppliers which are cutting down the Amazon.
The cattle industry is the single largest driver of deforestation in the Amazon and rainforests worldwide thanks to trees being cut down to make way for grazing the animals.
Which brands have been linked to deforestation?
Stand.earth’s investigation looked at where fashion brands were directly or indirectly sourcing leather from suppliers linked to deforestation in the Amazon.
Each individual connection is not absolute proof that any one brand uses deforestation leather, but the more connections a brand has to a supplier implicated in deforestation, the higher the risk that the brand is driving deforestation.
Some of the top brands identified by stand.earth as having multiple connections to an industry propping up deforestation include:
They point out that a number of brands have made promises not to use products created with leather linked to deforestation, but researchers claim their evidence shows some companies are breaching their own policies.
A spokesperson for H&M said: “As part of our work in not contributing to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, we have had a ban on leather from Brazil since 2019. Any breach of our ban is something we take very seriously, and we are in direct dialogue with all our leather suppliers to ensure that our policy is being fully implemented.”
“Due to the low transparency the whole industry is facing in the leather supply chain, the risk will remain.”
All companies listed have been contacted by The Big Issue for comment.
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