Major Shoe Company To Boycott Leather From Brazil In Protest Of Amazon Fires

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro made a major mistake by letting the Amazon be set ablaze to make way for more agriculture and mining projects because now international companies such as VF Corporation are announcing boycotts of products produced there.

The United States is a large importer of Brazilian leather for shoe and boot manufacturing, among other items. And as the parent company of outdoor apparel stores such as Timberland, The North Face, Dickies and other big brands, VF Corporation purchases a lot of leather from Brazil. But, no longer.

In a statement earlier this week, VF Corp. made the decision to boycott leather from Brazil until ” we have the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country.”

Tree clearing in the Amazon has typically made way for pasture for cattle ranching, which not only produces beef, but also leather.

According to Reuters:

Many of the fires burning were initially set by cattle ranchers or farmers in a bid to clear land. An investigative report in July by local news media showed that JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker and the world’s largest leather producer, had been buying cattle from ranchers operating on land that the government has said must not be used for grazing. JBS denied the report, although it acknowledged the difficulty of tracing some cattle’s origin.

Ever since Bolsonaro took office, he has made every effort to dismantle environmental regulations and laws in Brazil as a favor to miners, ranchers and loggers, resulting in millions of acres of trees being cut down or cleared in one of the worst periods of deforestation the world has ever witnessed.

The fires in the Amazon have numbered in the thousands in recent weeks and months, capturing the attention of the globe as the “lungs of the Earth” burn.

The Amazon rainforest is responsible for producing at least 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe and accounts for the most species of plants and animals on the planet, many of which have not even been discovered by science yet. The rainforest also absorbs the lion share of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. That means the loss of the forest would be a significant setback in the fight against climate change because the Amazon is a key part of the strategy to prevent global temperatures from crossing the red line.

All of the effort by nations worldwide to prevent uncontrollable climate change may have just been sabotaged by Bolsonaro’s irresponsible anti-environment crusade.

This boycott then is a major blow against Brazil, which relies heavily on agricultural products to drive its economy. If more companies and nations refused to do business with Brazil, it would almost certainly force the government to change course. Or at least spur the Brazilian people to force their government to change course. This is a planetary emergency and it’s clear that Bolsonaro has no intention of ceasing his assault on the environment. Therefore, it’s up to the rest of the world to make him do it.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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