American-based outdoor footwear and apparel maker Timberland announced, this Wednesday, July 29, a policy agreement with Greenpeace that will help ensure the leather used in the company's products will not contribute to new deforestation of Brazil's Amazon Rainforest.
According to Greenpeace, the policy makes Timberland the industry leader in environmentally and socially responsible Brazilian leather procurement and comes less than a week after Nike announced a policy that would prevent the company from sourcing any leather from the Amazon until deforestation for cattle expansion is halted.
Timberland's announcement comes on the heels of the Greenpeace report titled, "Slaughtering the Amazon," which documents a three-year investigation that traced leather, beef and other cattle products from ranches involved in deforestation at the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, as well as the invasion of indigenous lands and slavery, back to the supply chains of top brands.
Working with Greenpeace, Timberland released a policy that requires leather suppliers, such as Bertin, to commit to a moratorium on newly deforested areas in the Amazon. Given the cattle industry is responsible for Brazil's top source of carbon dioxide emissions and the largest driver of deforestation in the world, a moratorium on cattle expansion is a critical component of Brazil's Zero Deforestation policy if it aims to reduce forest related greenhouse gas emissions.
"Timberland has raised the bar for environmentally and socially responsible leather sourcing policies in the Amazon. They have taken an important step by not only committing to avoid leather from cattle raised in newly deforested areas, but by working with existing suppliers like Bertin, to move the Brazilian cattle sector toward supporting a moratorium on any new cattle expansion into the Amazon Rainforest," said Lindsey Allen, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace.
Other key areas that demonstrate Timberland's leadership in these areas of corporate sustainability include:
* The company's willingness to not just fix its own supply chain but work to improve practices in the wider industry;
* The company was already working to find areas where it could improve these policies internally;
* The company has a long history of first working with suppliers to make lasting positive change and that has been one of the most effective parts of their model.