H&M Takes a Stand to Help Save the Amazon Rainforest

Take a deep breath, notice how the air flows through your nostrils and fills up our lungs. Like most people, we don’t have to consciously think about breathing, our bodies do it naturally. We take in oxygen and we give out carbon dioxide. This is the fundamental science that stirs up memories from our elementary school days. Those lessons that taught us about trees, photosynthesis, and how they enable us to live so seamlessly. 

We all know for a fact that Brazil’s Amazon rainforest known as the ‘lungs of the Earth’ provides more than 20% of our planet’s oxygen but this year, Brazil has experienced unprecedented burnings. Up to an 80 percent rise from 2018, with more than 80,000 fires and more than half of them taking place in the Amazon. There’s a reason why we should be appalled: it is likely that the fires are intentional. Fires of this scale are not a natural phenomenon to the Amazon’s tropical ecosystem, even during Brazil’s dry season. Some of the ‘most biodiverse and carbon-rich landscapes’, as put by atmospheric scientist Scott Denning, is what is at stake to the upsurge in deforestation.

This is now considered a political issue. When President Jair Bolsano campaigned as a far-right candidate, he championed two things: The first being – less land in the Amazon for indegenous tribes and preservation, Secondly – more room for industries to venture into and explore the rainforest. Following these fires, we experienced a vast deforestation and more breathing space for agriculture purposes.  

© H&M

However, the gravity of the Amazon rainforest fires is stirring up a lot of international concerns and the fashion industry is contributing to condemning this act and finding more environmentally friendly solutions. 

H&M is taking their pledge to being a more sustainable conscious industry very seriously. They recently announced their decision to immediately put a stop to all leather purchases hailing from Brazil, releasing the following statement:

“Due to the severe fires in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest, and the connections to cattle production, we have decided to place a temporary ban on leather from Brazil… The ban will be active until there are credible assurance systems in place to verify that the leather does not contribute to environmental harm in the Amazon.”

VF Corp – the owner of Timberland, Vans and North Face is also putting a halt to purchasing Brazilian leather until they come up with solutions that do not contribute to environmental harm. H&M also promises to transition to 100% sustainable cotton by 2020. They are one of the 32 fashion brands forming a pact with the G7 to combat the climate crisis. More can always be done in the pursuit of saving our environment but it is very encouraging to see a global brand like H&M putting their best heels forward to push for more environment-friendly solutions