When you lace up your shoes to go for a jog, you might not be thinking about their effect on the environment. But if those kicks are labeled Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Clarks or Timberland, chances are they’re contributing to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
A Greenpeace investigation released last month reported that Brazil’s cattle industry —supplying both the meat and leather industries—is the world’s largest source of deforestation. It accounts for 14 percent of annual deforestation. The cattle industry is also Brazil’s main source of CO2 emissions.
Forest destruction causes almost 20 percent of emissions linked to global warming, which accounts for more pollution than the combined emissions of all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships.
The report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” follows cattle products from ranches involved in illegal deforestation to the laundering of those products into the supply chains of top brands including Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Clarks, Timberland, Geox, Gucci, Ikea, Kraft and Wal-Mart.
Since the report was released, both Nike and Timberland have altered their policies to ensure that leather used in their shoes won’t contribute to tropical deforestation. Nike’s new policy requires that leather suppliers certify in writing that their products are not coming from cattle raised in the Amazon. Timberland’s new policy requires leather suppliers to halt cattle expansion on newly deforested areas in the Amazon.
Want to encourage other companies to alter their Amazon policies? Send them a message.