Soon after we released our Slaughtering the Amazon report, Nike got in touch with us. The report showed that demand for shoe leather is one of the key drivers of deforestation in the Amazon, as rainforest is cleared to make room for the expanding cattle ranching industry. So Nike was keen to make sure that their business wasn't contributing to Amazon destruction.
Over the last few weeks we've been working with the company, and the good news is that today Nike announced new standards that will keep leather from the Amazon out of their shoes. Equally importantly, they're going to stick to those standards until there are guarantees that no leather or other cattle products from Brazil are coming from deforested Amazon land.
Brazil's cattle industry is responsible for about 80% of all deforestation in the Amazon. In fact, the Brazilian cattle industry is the largest single source of deforestation anywhere in the world. Deforestation is responsible for one-fifth of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions - that's more than all the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined, and means it's vital that companies which source cattle products from Brazil make sure they're not part of the problem.
The announcement from Nike is a very positive development, and our supporters have been vital to making it happen. Over 30,000 Greenpeace activists have emailed shoe companies that source leather from Brazil to express their concern for the environment and the climate - sending over 200,000 emails in just seven weeks!
It's obviously brought the importance of the issue home to Nike. Unfortunately, other shoe companies highlighted in our report continue to offer nothing but excuses. Although we sent copies of the report to them all, only Nike has taken the steps necessary to ensure that their supply chain is not contributing to the destruction of the Amazon. This begs the question: When will Adidas, Reebok, Timberland and Clarks follow Nike's good example, do the right thing, and establish policies of their own to protect the Amazon, and the climate?