International Clothing Brands to Discontinue Using Leather from Brazil

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. halt / hɔlt / (v) – to suddenly stop something from continuing to move or happen

    The government decided to permanently halt the project because of lack of funds.

  2. curb / kɜrb / (v) – to limit something or keep something under control

    The manager was tasked to curb additional office expenses.

  3. scrutiny / ˈskrut n i / (n) – thorough observation, examination, or investigation of something

    After the scandal, the company’s policies faced close scrutiny from the public.

  4. set out / sɛt aʊt / (phrasal) – to carry out an activity or plan with a specific goal

    The group of environmentalists set out to rally against the companies abusing the environment.

  5. at the cost of (something) / æt ðə kɔst əv / (idiom) – while causing harm to another

    The company increased its profits but at the cost of its workers’ compensation.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think VF Corporation’s decision to halt the use of Brazilian leather is a good business move? Why or why not?
• How do you think this business move will affect Brazil’s economy? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are some sustainable business practices that companies can implement (e.g. waste reduction)? Discuss.
• Do you agree that companies should prioritize sustainability over other aspects of business, like profit? Why or why not?

Category : Business