PARIS: Quick vogue giants H&M and Zara have used cotton from farms linked to huge deforestation, land-grabbing, corruption and violence in Brazil, a report by the environmental group Earthsight stated Thursday.
Based mostly on satellite tv for pc photographs, court docket rulings, cargo information and an undercover investigation, the report, titled “Trend Crimes,” discovered the businesses sourced “tainted cotton” farmed within the fragile Cerrado savanna by two of Brazil’s greatest agribusiness companies, SLC Agricola and the Horita Group.
Regardless of abuses linked to its manufacturing, the cotton had been labeled as moral by main certification scheme Higher Cotton, exposing “deep flaws” within the oversight program, stated the British environmental group.
The Cerrado, probably the most biodiverse savanna on Earth, has been disappearing at an accelerating charge as Brazil’s huge agribusiness business has more and more turned to the area in current many years.
Earthsight traced a minimum of 816,000 tonnes of cotton exported from 2014 to 2023 to farms run by SLC and Horita, which “have a protracted document of court docket injunctions, corruption rulings and tens of millions of {dollars} in fines associated to clearances of round 100,000 hectares of Cerrado wilderness,” it stated.
The cotton in query was farmed within the northeastern state of Bahia and shipped to eight Asian clothes producers whose shoppers embrace Sweden-based H&M and Spain-based Zara, the report stated.
Brazil, the world’s prime exporter of beef and soybeans, has additionally emerged as a serious cotton producer in recent times, now second solely to the USA.
However that has contributed to environmental destruction within the Cerrado, the place “a ruinous mixture of corruption, greed, violence and impunity has led to the blatant theft of public lands and dispossession of native communities,” Earthsight stated.
Higher Cotton stated in a press release it had performed an unbiased audit of the “extremely regarding points raised” within the report, and that it will present a abstract of the findings.
Zara guardian firm Inditex and H&M stated they took the allegations severely, and urged Higher Cotton to launch the auditors’ findings.
The Brazilian Cotton Producers’ Affiliation (ABRAPA) stated it had labored with the growers in query to offer information and proof countering the report’s allegations.
“Sadly, these have been largely disregarded,” it stated in a press release.
“ABRAPA unequivocally condemns any practices that undermine environmental conservation, violate human rights or hurt native communities.”


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