Nike, the world's largest maker of athletic shoes, said yesterday it is adopting a policy that prohibits the use of leather from cattle raised in Brazil's Amazon rainforest. The announcement came after a Greenpeace statement released about a month ago citing cattle farming as the main driver as deforestation in the region, and a significant contributor to global warming, as ranchers clear vast stretches of land for grazing. The company
established a formal Amazon leather policy and
will give its leather suppliers until the first day of next July to
"create an ongoing, traceable and transparent system to provide credible assurances that leather used for Nike products is from cattle raised outside of the Amazon Biome" [AP].
Nike's Web site says that it has "a high degree of certainty" that it doesn't currently use leather sourced from Amazonia. Still, the company wants to make sure this is the case due to the large environmental impact of cattle farming in that region. Therefore, if leather suppliers fail to meet the July 1 deadline for a traceable system,
the company may expand the region from which it won’t source leather to include non-forested areas in all nine Brazilian states that contain parts of the Amazon [Bloomberg].
Greenpeace was pleased with the company's decision. “Nike has recognized that trampling over the Amazon rainforest to produce leather for its trainers is an unacceptable way of doing business,” said Sarah Shoraka [of Greenpeace]. “Preparing land for cattle ranching is now the single biggest cause of deforestation in the world and a major driver of climate change"
[Bloomberg]. According to Greenpeace, rearing cattle in the Amazon causes 14 percent of the deforestation each year around the globe, and tropical logging emits about 17 percent of the gases held responsible for climate change.
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Image: flickr / Valerio Pillar