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American retail giant VF Corporation has announced that it would temporarily halt its use of Brazilian leather amid the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
The corporation, which houses international apparel and footwear brands like Vans, North Face, and Kipling, said that it will only lift the ban when the Brazilian government shows willingness to curb global warming.
A VF Corporation spokesperson revealed that further use of Brazilian leather goes against the company’s sustainability standards. According to the spokesperson, the boycott of Brazilian leather will continue until the group is certain that the material does not harm the country’s environment.
The Amazon rainforest fires have put Brazil’s agricultural sector under international scrutiny. Some reports alleged that the fires were deliberately set out to clear and convert land into farms and cattle ranches. Thus, politicians and environmentalists worldwide are urging the Brazilian government to take drastic action to address the wildfires.
After the announcement of VF Corporation, Swedish clothing company H&M publicized that it would also stop buying Brazilian leather for the meantime. The company wants assurance that the leather it sources from Brazil is produced in a sustainable manner and does not negatively affect the Amazon.
Environmental activists praised the move of the two companies and predicted that it will undoubtedly pressure the Brazilian government to react to the situation.
According to environmental group Greenpeace UK, brands and companies do not want to be linked with state policies that are detrimental to the environment. The group calls on other companies to withdraw support from Brazil’s move to develop the country’s agricultural and mining industries at the cost of the environment.