Owner of Timberland, Vans stops buying Brazilian leather as Amazon burns
By Gram Slattery RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The U.S.
By Gram Slattery
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. parent company of apparel and shoe brands Timberland, Vans and the North Face will no longer buy Brazilian leather, it said on Thursday, as surging forest fires in the Amazon raise questions about how companies are contributing to the destruction of the world's largest rainforest.
Thousands of forest fires in the Amazon have been raging for weeks, which has already led to heightened scrutiny of Brazil's beef industry, one of the country's main economic engines.
The holding company for major shoe and apparel brands, VF Corp, said it would resume buying Brazilian leather when "we have the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country."
The move was one of the first signs of a concrete economic impact from the controversy over the fires, which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted are under control.
Environmentalists claim that fires were set by real estate speculators and ranchers, as it is common practice to clear land for agricultural use.
An investigative report in July by local news media showed that Brazil's JBS SA, the world's largest meatpacker and the world's largest leather producer, had been buying cattle from ranchers operating on land that the government has said must not be used for grazing.
JBS denied the report, although it acknowledged the difficulty of tracing some cattle's origin.
Norway has urged several of its companies to ensure they do not contribute to Amazon deforestation, including oil firm Equinor ASA, fertilizer-maker Yara International ASA and aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA.
In a statement, VF Corp said, "As a result of ... detailed diligence, we are no longer able to satisfactorily assure ourselves that our de minimis volume of leather purchased from Brazilian suppliers upholds this (responsible sourcing) commitment."
The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company's other brands include Dickies, Smartwool and JanSport.
The company did not respond to questions regarding the value of its Brazilian leather imports, or possible markets it might use for alternative supply.
According to the Center for the Brazilian Tanning Industry, the main leather trade group in Brazil, the country exported $1.44 billion of bovine leather in 2018. Its largest export markets were the United States, China and Italy, which together consumed about 60% of Brazilian leather exports in 2018.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
By Crispin Kyala KAMITUGA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Kinyenye Furaha passed out from shock when he realised a mine collapse in eastern Congo had buried more than 50 fellow miners including his brother, he said on Sunday, as the hunt continued for bodies two days after the disaster. Miners searching the site near the town of Kamituga in Democratic Republic of Congo have so far recovered 18 bodies, after heavy rains on Friday caused the artisanal gold mine to cave in, burying those working below ground.
By Tom Balmforth and Maria Tsvetkova MOSCOW/TOMSK (Reuters) - The ruling United Russia party looked set for an array of local election wins on Sunday, but was also on course for some setbacks as stricken Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's supporters made rare gains in city politics in Siberia. The local elections were closely watched for signs of protest voting against the ruling party that backs President Vladimir Putin amid frustrations over years of falling wages and the government's handling of the pandemic. The votes also followed the suspected poisoning by a rare nerve agent of opposition politician Navalny who had promoted a tactical voting strategy to hurt United Russia and fielded dozens of candidates for city councils in Siberia
By Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a longtime loyal aide of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was poised to win a ruling party leadership election on Monday, virtually ensuring that he replaces Abe this week in the nation's top job. Suga, 71, who has said he would pursue Abe's key economic and foreign policies, is expected to get the bulk of votes from 394 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and is likely to win a majority of 141 votes from the party's local chapters.