Hannah Morgan, Unsplash

Leading fashion companies failing to address deforestation-risk in their supply chains

18 Sep 2020

At the start of London Fashion Week, new analysis by Global Canopy’s Forest 500 project has found that 75% of the most influential companies in leather supply chains do not have a commitment to ensure that the leather they source is not linked to deforestation

Companies named in the analysis include big names such as Prada, Zara, and Michael Kors.

The researchers also found that 32% of the most influential fashion companies producing clothes with wood-based fibres, such as viscose, do not have a commitment to ensure their sourcing is not linked to deforestation.

These companies include Primark owner Associated British Foods and sportswear manufacturer Adidas.

Emma Thomson, a researcher for Global Canopy, said:

“It’s not on the label, but some of the favourite items in our wardrobe could be linked to deforestation and fashion brands are not doing enough to stop this.

“Consumers buying leather and viscose items should not have to worry that they are driving deforestation in the Amazon, where forests are being cleared to make way for cattle. Fashion needs to rethink and ensure that future collections are deforestation-free.”

Some companies have made zero deforestation commitments for leather, including Marks & Spencer, Nike and VF Corporation. Only one company assessed, Kering, is tracking its supplies of leather back to the farm-stage.

Marks & Spencer has a commitment to deforestation-free wood-based fibres, while Inditex (owner of Zara and Pull & Bear), and C&A owner, Cofra, have commitments to protect forests.

Dr James MacPherson from global sustainability consultancy, Anthesis Group, commented:

“Addressing deforestation may not seem straightforward in such a globalised, commoditised world but there are some core activities that will help companies unpack and support the necessary move towards de-linking deforestation. The starting point is getting to know their supply chains and working out who they need to work with.”


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Helen Burley, Communications lead, Global Canopy, email: [email protected]

Image: Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

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