Swedish retailer H&M temporarily bans leather sourced from Brazil

H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB has temporarily banned leather from Brazil across all its brands in response to the fires in the Amazon rainforest.

“Due to the recent happenings in [the] Amazon, we have now decided to put a temporary ban on leather from Brazil,” a company spokesperson told Dow Jones Newswires late Wednesday. “This will apply to the whole H&M Group.”

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Along with its flagship brand, the Stockholm-based fashion giantHM.B, +0.99%owns six brands including Cheap Monday, Cos and Arket. The company didn’t immediately comment on how much leather it sources from Brazil or how long it expected the ban to last.

The decision comes amid international outcry over fires set to clear land for cattle and crops. Last week, VF Corp.VFC, +3.98% , the owner of Vans, Timberland and the North Face, said it would no longer source leather from Brazil after deciding it couldn’t guarantee that all its suppliers there operated sustainably.

Fires in Brazil this year have reached their highest levels since 2010, data from Brazil’s space agency show. There have been more than 43,400 fires between January and August, double the amount of fires over the same period last year.

“The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is the largest driver of deforestation in the world, and this is the reason [that] we need to have stricter requirements for hides and leather originating from Brazil,” the H&M spokesperson said.

The burning of the Amazon generated an estimated 46% of Brazil’s greenhouse-gas emissions in 2017, according to Sistema de Estimativa de Emissoes de Gases de Efeito Estufa, a Brazilian group that tracks such emissions.

Dieter Holger is a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires. Follow him on Twitter: @dieterholger. Cristina Roca contributed to this report.

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