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3 Ways To Protect The Amazon Rainforest From the Leather Fashion Industry

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Remnants of a once-lush and beautiful landscape with colors of charcoal, a barren brown forest floor, and dying amber leaves on charred trees

The once lush, green landscape of the Amazon rainforest is in trouble and dwindling more and more as the years pass. The main contributor to this disastrous conclusion is the fashion industry, specifically leather production. Dense woodland landscapes and trees are torn down to make room for cattle farms and tanneries while accommodating the high global demands for leather. 

Deforestation holds enormous environmental consequences in Brazil, and it also affects everyone globally, not least of all the culture and indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest. 

Although leather production in Brazil is a powerful moneymaker, the rural and local communities of the Amazon don’t rely on this flawed system for income. According to the Slow Factory, the amount of leather produced in 2020 racked up $1.1 billion in revenue from Brazilian slaughterhouses, which 80% of that gets exported. So why is it necessary, and why does it still exist?

In short, the leather industry is not vital to the people of Amazon, just the fashion industry and corporations that are profiting from it. 

But to understand how devastating and vital this event is and could be, let’s take a deeper look into what the deforestation of the Amazon is currently doing and how it can impact us worldwide. 

The Effects of Deforestation in the Amazon 

To start, deforestation is the mass destruction of trees by humans, leading to soil erosion, adverse effects on climate change, and devastating ecosystems. These significant results will be felt globally, not just among the local indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest. 

Predictions on Internet states that 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest deforestation. The National Geographic also reports that 17% of the Amazonian rainforest was destroyed in the past 50 years, and those numbers are rapidly increasing.

We could lose 30-45 % of Amazon’s species within the next decade. 

In light of these statistics, here are a few positive things that anybody can do to stop the harmful impact of leather on the Amazon rainforest. 

Stop Buying Leather or Start Being Extremely Picky 

A significant part of the Amazon rainforest dying is the production of leather. Therefore, it’s ideal to stop buying
leather to minimize the negative impact.

But if you choose to buy leather, there are some things you can look for when purchasing. You mainly want to find leather from a supplier to trace it back to the original birth farm. While several people choose pleather or faux leather as a viable option, it’s not as sustainable as you think. 

Pleather is actually made from plastic, which is made from fossil fuel and is not environmentally friendly – at all. Not to mention that plastic is not biodegradable and releases chemicals into the environment. 

So, the best thing you can do for the Amazon rainforest and its people is to stop buying leather altogether. But if you choose to buy leather products, be very selective and ensure the biological farm isn’t located in Brazil or the Amazon rainforest. 

If you want to support this cause directly, take it a step further by looking at legislation and different policies to slow down or stop leather production.

Support Legislation That Supports the Rainforest 

Advocating for real change begins and ends with enforced laws. Meaning, we must highlight and support specific laws requiring full traceability to the cattle’s entire lifespan, specifically stemming from the biological farm. 

Another practical solution is producing responsibly produced leather. This solution will call for much smaller production and investing in natural leather alternatives and biodegradable materials. Both are excellent ways to combat this environmentally and entirely possible issue for the fashion industry.  

Educate and Commit to the Cause 

Learning about environmental issues is a constant effort. More information will present itself as science advances as we conduct more studies. To help with your ecological education journey, check out Slow Factory, which holds several education projects, summits, and programs. 

Several of them offer education on other climate crises outside of rain deforestation, giving you more opportunities to learn, enlighten yourself, and advocate for fundamental, actionable changes towards a healthier environment. 

The Main Takeaways Towards Protecting the Amazon 

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is a severe issue that can have irreversible effects if not handled immediately. Stop buying leather products to take a stand and protect the Amazon and its people. If you do purchase leather, then do your research, support environmentally-friendly legislation, and lastly, commit to the cause and educate yourself on the issue regularly. 


Further Reading:

Internet Geography. “What are the effects of deforestation in the Amazon?” Internet Geography, 2021,

Nunez, Christina. National Geographic. Nunez, Christina. “Deforestation Explained.” National Geographic, n.d. 

Slow Factory. “Stop Fashion-Related Deforestation in the Amazon.” Slow Factory, 2021.


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