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H&M Has Stopped Purchasing Leather From Brazil

H&M has stopped purchasing leather from Brazil as the country's cattle industry has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest

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H&M, leather, retail, Brazil
Fleshing Machines built in Tabriz by Reza Pourbagheri, Techno Machine in 1980s for Leather Industry. Wikimedia Commons

Swedish multinational clothing-retail company H&M has stopped purchasing leather from Brazil over concerns that the country’s cattle industry has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

The announcement of the temporary ban is the second to hit Brazil after a spike in rainforest fires this year drew global outcry, reports nytimes.com.

Last week, VF Corporation, which includes labels such as Timberland and The North Face, announced a temporary halt on the purchases of Brazilian leather, until its suppliers could prove they were not connected to any environmental harm.

Nearly 50,000 fires have been detected in the Brazilian Amazon so far in 2019 — the highest number in almost a decade.

H&M, leather, retail, Brazil
Leather Jackets displayed for customers. Pixabay

While fires happen every year during the dry season, the spike coincides with new policies by President Jair Bolsonaro that have encouraged greater access to protected lands.

Though it is unknown how much of the leather exported by Brazil is linked to Amazon deforestation, researchers connect much of it to the forest being cut down for pasture. A 2016 report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization linked 80 per cent of deforestation in the country to cattle grazing.

The sudden rise in recent fires has prompted world leaders and celebrities to issue warnings about the future of the world’s biggest rainforest. Many took aim at Bolsonaro’s policies, which also included slashing the budget of environmental protection agencies.

On Saturday, Bolsonaro dismissed the boycott concerns, saying it was just some “pressure” and “part of the game.”

ALSO READ: Here’s How You Can Step up Your Summer Fashion Game

“This is normal in the whole world,” he had told the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo.

Last week, the Brazilian President signed an executive order forbidding fires during the dry season in the Amazon. The government also sent the military to fight the fires in the Amazon, but thousands of blazes are still raging there.

The brand has already had requirements in place to ensure that raw hides and leather used in its products did not originate from cattle raised in the Amazon, a spokesperson said.

The ban by the clothing label on all leather from Brazil will remain “until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon,” the company said.

The spokesperson added that a “very small” amount of the retailer’s leather comes from Brazil, and that the vast majority comes from Europe, but could not immediately provide specifics. The ban will extend to all of H&M’s brands. (IANS)

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Leonardo DiCaprio for Amazon Forest Fires

Leonardo DiCaprio blamed for Amazon fires by Brazil President

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President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed Leonardo DiCaprio for the devastating forest fires in the Amazon. Wikimedia Commons

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed Hollywood’s Oscar-winning superstar Leonardo DiCaprio for the devastating forest fires in the Amazon.

DiCaprio has been accused of funding non-profit groups, which Bolsonaro feels were responsible for fires in the Amazon rainforest, reports mirror.co.uk.

The President, however, did not back his claim with any evidence.

“DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire,” President Bolsonaro said, while speaking to supporters in Brasilia.

Jair Bolsonaro blames Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio has been accused of funding non-profit groups, which Jair Bolsonaro feels were responsible for fires in the Amazon rainforest. Wikimedia Commons

He made a similar claim in a Facebook live broadcast.

“Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning of the Amazon,” Bolsonaro accused, claiming that the actor is part of an international campaign against Brazil.

DiCaprio’s environmental organisation Earth Alliance has pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon after a surge in fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest in July and August.

Also Read- Amazon Rainforest Fires May Increase Glacier Melting: Study

The actor-environmentalist said in a statement his group had not funded any of the two nonprofits named by the investigators so far.

“While worthy of support, we did not fund the organisations targeted,” the statement read. (IANS)