The Greenpeace report "Slaughtering the Amazon" released last month was the culmination of a three-year investigation that tracked beef, leather 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 like Adidas, Reebok and Timberland.
Every eight seconds, an acre of Amazon rainforest is destroyed for Brazilian cattle ranching, which is the biggest single driver of deforestation in the world. Forest destruction accounts for almost 20 percent of global emissions, more climate pollution than all the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined.
Working directly with Greenpeace, Nike created a new policy that requires leather suppliers to certify in writing that leather supplied for Nike products is not coming from cattle raised in the Amazon biome. The cattle industry is Brazil's top source of CO2 emissions and the largest driver of deforestation in the world.
"We applaud the leadership that Nike is taking on the critical issue of Amazon deforestation," says Greenpeace National Campaigns Director Lisa Finaldi. "Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is why Brazil is now ranked as the world's fourth largest C02 polluter. Nike's actions demonstrate the measures that other major players in the footwear sector-like Reebok, Adidas and Timberland-need to take to protect the Amazon. By taking responsibility for their part of the problem and by working together with the Brazilian people and their government, we will see real, effective solutions to combat climate change."
Slaughterhouses in the Amazon region ship cattle hides to facilities in the south of Brazil, where they are further processed before export. Greenpeace is calling for greater transparency in this supply chain so that cattle from deforested areas in the Amazon are not being "laundered" through these methods, and then provided to companies like Nike, eventually ending up in everyday American products. Nike's commitment to require full traceability and transparency from their suppliers by 2010 is an important first step, changing the industry from the inside out.
Nike's agreement also includes commitments to review contracts with suppliers that been found to use slave labor and suppliers that have infringed on Indian land or other protected areas.
"Slaughtering the Amazon" tracked leather, beef, and other cattle products as they made their way from cattle ranches in the Amazon rainforest to processing plants, manufacturers, and ultimately products we buy every day. The report highlights the need to end deforestation in the Amazon for cattle and the importance of having people, industry, and governments work together to halt deforestation for cattle expansion and the need to implement a global solution that includes forest protection as part of a strong climate deal from the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009.
"Slaughtering the Amazon" is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/slaughtering-the-amazon
Nike's statement and policy are available at http://www.nikebiz.com/media/pr/2009/07/22_AmazonLeatherPolicy.html
Contacts: Michael Crocker, Media Director, , 202-215-8989
Lindsey Allen, Forest Campaigner, , 415-710-5601
Photos and video available upon request.