Timberland steps it up a notch, commits to Amazon protections

New policy sets deadline for Bertin to support moratorium on cattle expansion into the Amazon

Feature story - July 29, 2009
Timberland has announced a new policy agreement with Greenpeace that will help ensure the leather used in its boots and shoes is not contributing to new deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest or global warming. The policy will not only guide Timberland’s leather procurement from Brazil to ensure it is not supporting deforestation, but also sets a deadline for Timberland’s suppliers to publicly commit to a moratorium on cattle expansion into the Amazon.

Working with Greenpeace, Timberland released a policy that will require its leather suppliers to commit to a moratorium on purchasing any cattle raised in newly deforested areas within the Amazon Rainforest. Given the cattle industry is Brazil's top source of greenhouse gas emissions and the largest driver of deforestation in the world, a moratorium on cattle expansion is a critical component of any Zero Deforestation policy in Brazil that 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, Greenpeace forests campaigner.

Greenpeace report has made major impact

The statement from Timberland comes less than a week after Nike announced a policy of its own that would prevent the company from sourcing any leather from the Amazon until deforestation for cattle expansion is halted. Both announcements follow the release of a Greenpeace report entitled "Slaughtering the Amazon," which documents 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, to the supply chains of top brands.

The report's release precipitated a string of welcome news for the Amazon and the climate since June 1st, when it was released. The next day, the Public Prosecution Office in Brazil's Para State announced that it was opening a billion-dollar lawsuit against several farms and various companies operating there, including one slaughterhouse owned by Brazil's cattle giant Bertin.

On June 12th came news that several major grocery store chains in Brazil, including Wal-Mart and Carrefour, had banned beef purchased from the farms accused by the Para state prosecutor's offfice of being involved in illegal deforestation. The very next day, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, announced that it was withdrawing a $90 million dollar loan to Bertin.

Then, on June 22nd, the world's fourth largest beef trader, Marfrig, announced a moratorium that would prevent the company from buying cattle raised in newly deforested areas within the Amazon. The move by Marfrig came after the "Slaughtering the Amazon" report had thrust an international spotlight on Marfrig, Bertin, JBS and other leading cattle companies for driving Amazon deforestation and climate change.

Take action! Say thank you to Timberland.

The demand for leather means more Amazon rainforest cleared to graze cattle. Timberland stepped it up a notch with its suppliers to help eliminate Amazon destruction from the leather sector in Brazil. Take action now >> Thank Timberland for putting its foot down and doing its part to Save the Amazon.

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Thank Timberland for stepping it up a notch to help Save the Amazon