26 November 2021

Deforestation - Project in place for deforestation-free leather supply chains

Conservation groups WWF and the US’s National Wildlife Federation will work with the Leather Working Group and researchers from the University of Wisconsin Madison to tackle deforestation and its links to leather supply chains, reports Leatherbiz.

Image shows Brazil’s environment agency Ibama and federal police taking action to shut down a timber operation resulting from illegal deforestation in the state of Maranhão. Credit: Felipe Werneck/Ibama.

Aims of the joint project include building on existing commitments to help manufacturers and buyers of leather confirm that their supply chains are “deforestation-free”.

Researchers from the Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison will map and assess data relating to deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado in Brazil, and in the Chaco in Paraguay. Using this data, the Leather Working Group will develop a due diligence assessment tool for “deforestation risk management”.

WWF’s senior director for leather and beef supply chains, Mauricio Bauer, said of the new project: “This work is an important step forward to achieve zero-deforestation supply chains for leather. Aiming to address deforestation in an open, science based, data-driven way is a substantial contribution to the leather sector as a whole.”

The director of a tropical forests and agriculture programme at the National Wildlife Federation, Simon Hall, said: “We are facing a climate crisis on top of a biodiversity crisis and deforestation is at the centre of both. Implementing deforestation-free production and sourcing practices is a critical part of the solution and it will take collective action from companies up and down the value chain to achieve this goal.”

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