Whilst many raw materials are, quite rightly, accused of causing deforestation, leather produced from unsustainable cattle-ranching appears to avoid any censure. Yet, cattle ranching is the chief threat hanging over the Amazon. Through its 2013 campaign “Leather is giving the forest a hiding”, Envol Vert shone the spotlight on this issue, resulting in action being taken by the largest French player in the shoe industry, Eram Group.   

We are beginning to see multiple initiatives to reduce the ecological impact on the forest caused by our consumption of wood, paper, palm oil and soya. However, the leather industry continues to be a sector where there is little awareness of the issue. This is particularly the case in France, the world’s second greatest consumer of shoes with an average of 6.5 pairs of shoes bought per person per year. 

Envol Vert estimates that today 1 in 7 pairs of shoes sold in France is a product of deforestation. 13.5% of shoes sold in France feature leather directly or indirectly coming from Brazilian ranches at high risk of causing deforestation. France imports 95% of its shoes, mainly from China and Italy which are the largest users of Brazilian leather.

 Sounding the alarm at Eram Group

France, the country most at risk in Europe due to its massive shoe consumption, has a key role to play in seeking the transparency and environmental guarantees of its imports. Envol Vert launched a petition generating 27,000 signatures and asking Eram Group, France’s leading shoe manufacturer, to implement full tracing of its leather sourcing and to make environmental guarantees for the leather’s origin thereby ensuring the Group was not contributing to South American deforestation. The campaign included a gathering in front of an ERAM store.  

“The forest is great, stop walking all over it. Demand full traceability”

This was one of the slogans launched on February 6th
by Envol Vert activists in front of
the Eram Store in St. Michel

Specifically, we ask Eram and all leading French shoe manufacturers to make a public undertaking to:

  • Not source any leather from suppliers responsible for deforestation

  • Create robust and transparent traceability of their leather supply chain

  • Implement guarantees to ensure no leather is sourced from areas at risk of deforestation; to do so via independent certification of the producers’ compliance with tightly defined environmental criteria

  • Provide product information on the country of origin of the cattle ranches from where the leather is sourced

  • As a market leader, to call for the other players in the industry to implement ethical sourcing policies

Edit of March 07, 2013:

On March 7th 2013,Eram Group sent us a press release in which they stated a commitment to use “zero leather” coming from ranches linked to deforestation in the Amazon by 2015.