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Timberland needs to hear from you.

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June 3, 2009

*Update: Timberland has changed the email address used to reply to our supporters. Instead of [email protected], the responses are now coming from [email protected]

Although we are getting form responses, now is the time more than ever to write Timberland and ask, "Can you prove that my Timberlands are not destroying the Amazon?" Also, please note that if you complete our action “Tell top shoe brands to protect the Amazon and the climate,” you may receive formulaic responses from several of the companies that we’re asking to help protect the Amazon and the climate. We’ll have suggested responses for all of them shortly, in addition to a more complete response to Timberland’s email response.

If you took our online action “Tell top shoe brands to protect the Amazon and the climate,” you might have received an email response from [email protected] that appeared to come from Green Peace and detailed the environmental commitments of the company. We all consider Timberland to be an environmental leader, and yet Timberland can not guarantee that the leather in their shoes isn’t driving deforestation in the Amazon.Greenpeace report cover: Slaughtering the Amazon

On page 95 of our report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which we just released Monday, we note the links between Bertin and Timberland: "Bertin lists direct leather customers including Clarks, Eagle Ottawa, Gruppo Mastrotto, HTL International (Domicil), Natuzzi (Divani & Divani), Chateau d’Ax and Timberland."

We go on to describe the problem with Bertin: “Greenpeace has identified hundreds of ranches within the Amazon rainforest supplying cattle to Bertin’s slaughterhouses in the Amazon state of Pará. Where Greenpeace was able to obtain mapped boundaries for ranches, satellite analysis reveals that significant supplies of cattle come from ranches active in recent and illegal deforestation. Trade data also reveal trade with ranches using modern-day slavery. Additionally, one Bertin slaughterhouse receives supplies of cattle from an illegal ranch occupying Indian Lands.” (p. 66 of report)

And we are not the only ones calling Bertin and Bertin’s customers, into question.  

In a press conference yesterday, Brazil’s Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, said: “This ministry shares the ([Greenpeace] report’s) view. Cattle ranching today is the main culprit of deforestation.”
 
We also have news that a Brazilian Federal Prosecutor has filed a $1,000,000,000 suit against Bertin, 20 farms, and 10 other companies within the cattle sector based in Para.  They are accused of avoiding forest regeneration in illegally deforested areas subject to previous fines. The billion-dollar suit also asks for the retention of the farm owners’ goods, payment of fines and compensations for environmental damage to society, as well as an embargo of any activity in the areas illegally cleared, and a demand 1,376,377 acres are recovered to be reforested with native species. Because they bought cattle from these farms, slaughterhouses and tanning companies are considered co-responsible.

Though Timberland has done good things, they are not taking responsibility for any role they must play in protecting the Amazon and our climate.

I am sincerely disappointed that a company that has made environmental commitments in the past has not requested a meeting with Greenpeace to better understand evidence that implicates their company. The cattle industry is responsible for 80% of deforestation in the Amazon, making it the largest single driver of deforestation anywhere in the world. And deforestation, in turn, contributes 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world’s planes, trains, and cars combined.

Now is the time to save the Amazon and our climate, and every step will count. Ask Timberland to step up already.

We’re disappointed with Timberland, but they can still do the right thing–especially if they hear from you. If you receive an email from Timberland, please respond with a question: Can you prove that my Timberlands are not destroying the Amazon? And please cc: [email protected] so that you know they are getting your feedback. 

– Lindsey 

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