By GreenBiz Staff - GreenBiz Staff
Following a report by Greenpeace calling out a number of companies whose supply chains have been connected to rainforest deforestation, Nike has created a policy to not source leather from cattle raised in the Amazon rainforest (the company says it already does not source from there) and will require that suppliers create leather tracing systems.
The Greenpeace report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” shows that the supply chains for many shoe companies intersect with deforestation through complex supply chains. Brazil's cattle industry is responsible for 80 percent of the deforested areas in the Amazon, according to Greenpeace.
One of the companies responsible for that is beef and hide processor Bertin. One of the company's customers is Tong Hong Tannery Group, whose tanneries in China and Vietnam supply manufacturers that work for Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Timberland, Geox and Clarks.
In announcing its new policy, Nike said that it had extensive discussions with suppliers and is highly confident that leather in Nike products doesn't come from the Amazon rainforest, but because there is no standard tracing system in place, it cannot say so with 100 percent certainty.
Nike's leather policy says that it will not use leather that comes from cattle raised in the Amazon Biome (which encompass the Amazon rainforest and its related ecosystem) and calls on its suppliers to create a leather tracking system.
Nike has three leather suppliers who source hides from Brazil, accounting for about 12 percent of the leather used in Nike footwear. Nike will require them to certify that the cattle their hides come from are raised outside of the Amazon rainforest, and the suppliers have until July 1, 2010 to create an ongoing, traceable and transparent system to assure the leather they supply comes from outside of the rainforest.
If the suppliers cannot provide such a system by then, Nike plans to consider increasing the area where it will not source leather from to include a wider area of the Amazon Basin.
The policy also requires suppliers to join the Leather Working Group, which Nike is working with to help develop an industry standard traceability system, by December this year.