H&M and Zara producers linked to environmental destruction in Brazil – El Sol de México

London / Rio de Janeiro. Clothing factories that supply H&M and Zara are buying cotton linked to environmental destruction and land grabbing in the Brazilian closedaccording to research by the non-profit organization Earthsight.

While global concern has focused on the impact of cattle and soy farming in the Amazon, warnings from deforestation in the lesser known area of Closedfrom Brazil, increased by 44 percent in 2023according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

He Closed is a key area for biodiversity in the Brazilian tropical savanna where deforestation is skyrocketingAccording to Earthsight research, cotton is one of the main culprits, since the country has set out to become the largest exporter in the world.

“Businesses and consumers in Europe and North America are driving this destruction in a new way. Not because of what they eat, but for what they wear“says the report, details of which were first obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The group’s researchers tracked thousands of shipping records between two cotton producerswhich they say are linked to land grabbing and illegal deforestation in the Cerrado, to Asian manufacturers supplying finished garments to brands such as H&M and Zaraowned by Inditex, the largest in the world and the center of Earthsight research.

Better Cotton strictly prohibits land grabbing and deforestation.

Zara owner spokesperson.

According to the report, a sustainability standard used by fashion brandscalled Better Cotton is “fundamentally flawed” and does not guarantee consumers that they were not buying cotton from Brazilian farms involved in crimes against the environment.

Better Cotton certifies producers who meet its sustainability standards and labor practices, and says it covers 22 percent of global cotton production.

H&M called Earthsight’s initial findings “very concerning” and said it had asked Better Cotton to conduct a third-party investigation, the results of which a Better Cotton spokesperson said the organization was still analyzing.

A spokesperson for InditexITX.MC, owner of Zarasaid Better Cotton “strictly prohibits” practices like land grabbing and deforestation and that it takes “the allegations against Better Cotton very seriously”, pledging to monitor the outcome of the investigation.

Brazil’s cotton exports have caused it to lose half of its vegetation

Brazil’s cotton exports have increased considerably in the last decade due to the production boom in the Closedwhich has lost about half of its natural vegetation to agriculture and where Laws restricting deforestation are less strict than in the Amazon.

With an area larger than that of Mexico, the savanna includes forest areas and other vegetation vital to slowing global warming by absorbing and storing carbon. Additionally, it is home to endangered animals such as the maned wolf and the giant anteater.

It is also a key source of water for much of South Americabut the expansion of cultivation is threatening the water reserves of traditional communities and has driven them from the grazing lands they have used for generations, environmental researchers say.

Communities have lost access to plateaus that used to have natural pastures where family livestock grazed.

Mauricio Correia Silva, research consultant.

According to data from the IPAM environmental institute, three quarters of the savanna vegetation lost in 2023 They were located in Matopibaheadquarters of the vast Agronegocio Estrondo hacienda, which It mainly produces cotton, soybeans and corn.

Estrondo, which is made up of several farms, has been expanding into untouched areas even closer to villagers, and in the past established checkpoints with armed security to restrict residents’ movements and activities, Earthsight noted.

Farmer Adão Batista Gomes, 62, whose family has lived in the region for generations, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that his nephew was shot in the leg in 2019 by a man who worked for Estrondo when he tried to recover the cattle held by the guards of a corral, after entering an area claimed by the farmers of the farm.

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