Forest loss spooks firms importing Amazon inputs


Preventing cattle ranching from driving further Amazon deforestation is among Brazil’s key environmental challenges, experts say. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Silva, Brazilian Agricultural Ministry)

Deforestation and fires in the Brazilian Amazon, caused to a large degree by ranchers clearing land for pasture, are creating a potentially explosive public-relations problem for foreign companies that import leather from the beleaguered rainforest region. Evidence came on Aug. 28, when the VF Corporation (VFC), a major U.S.-based apparel and footwear company, suspended Brazilian leather imports. The company—which owns the Timberland, Vans and The North Face brands—did so amid concern that foreign demand for rawhide from Amazon ranches has helped drive the rainforest destruction. “VFC 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,” the North Carolina-based VFC said in an Aug. 28 press statement. In a separate announcement on Sept. 6... [Log in to read more]

Would you like to Subscribe?