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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.”

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“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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US And Brazil Agree To Promote Development In The Amazon

The US and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon and has also pledged a $100 million biodiversity conservation fund for the world's largest rainforest

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Amazon, US, Brazil, Agreement, Development
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring. Pixabay

The US and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon and has also pledged a $100 million biodiversity conservation fund for the world’s largest rainforest which has been ravaged by massive wildfires.

The developments took place during a meeting here on Friday between Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the BBC reported.

Addressing the media, Araujo said opening the rainforest to economic development was the only way to protect it, adding that claims the country was “not able to cope with the challenges” were false.

“We want to be together in the endeavour to create development for the Amazon region which we are convinced is the only way to protect the forest.

“So we need new initiatives, new productive initiatives, that create jobs, that create revenue for people in the Amazon and that’s where our partnership with the US will be very important for us,” he said.

Amazon, US, Brazil, Agreement, Development
President Donald Trump greets Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 19, 2019. VOA

Pompeo said the biodiversity investment fund would support businesses in hard to reach areas of the Amazon.

“The Brazilians and the American teams will follow through on our commitment that our presidents made in March. We’re getting off the ground a $100 million, 11-year Impact Investment Fund for Amazon biodiversity conservation and that project will be led by the private sector.”

More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest so far this year, the BBC said.

ALSO READ: US Biologists Declares “Unusual Mortality Event” in Deaths of Nearly 300 Ice Seals Off Alaska’s Northwest Coast

Also on Friday, Finland urged European Union countries to consider stopping importing beef and soybeans from Brazil in order to put pressure on Brazil to tackle the fires.

Last week seven South American countries agreed on measures to protect the Amazon river basin.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.

At a summit in Colombia, they also agreed to work on reforestation. (IANS)