Deforestation and Your Supply Chain

Nearly 20 percent of global warming causing emissions are from forest destruction, more climate pollution than all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined. When Greenpeace’s report, Slaughtering the Amazon exposed the practice of destroying forests for the expansion of cattle ranching in the Amazon, thousands of activists and consumers called for action from shoe companies. Why? Most of the world’s leather ends up in shoes.

Timberland CEO, Jeff Swartz in a GristTV interview gave credit to Greenpeace and the 65,000 people who signed a petition for shoe companies to obtain greater traceability in their supply chain. Responding to the report, Swartz stated, “We’ve got transparency, but not traceability. So we’re working really hard on traceability…We got 65,000 emails from people saying we expect more from you…..Does a CEO pay attention to that? I’m listening.”

Brazil’s leading source of carbon pollution is the country’s cattle sector, which occupies 80% of all deforested areas of the Amazon. JBS-Friboi, Bertin, Minerva and Marfrig, four of the largest players in the global cattle industry, joined forces to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon from their supply chains. Timberland, Adidas, Nike, Clarks, and Geox have made a commitment not to buy leather from Amazon destruction. The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS) which includes Walmart and Carrefour were among other supporters of zero deforestation.

Approximately 70%-80% of environmental impact comes from a company’s supply chain. Responsible organizations understand what happens in their supply chains and make them transparent and traceable. These companies deserve credit for taking action – it’s not only good for the planet, but good for business as well.

Sources: Grist.org YouTube video October 15, 2009
Slaughtering the Amazon – Greenpeace verde.greenpress.com August 1, 2009
Amazon Gets a Break From the Cattle Industry, Greenpeace October 5, 2009

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