US company behind Timberland and Vans stops buying leather from Brazil amid Amazon fires

The U.S. company behind shoe and apparel lines including Vans and Timberland announced Thursday it would no longer buy leather from Brazil.

VF Corp issued a statement saying it would no longer buy leather from Brazil for its products until it has the "confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country,” according to Reuters.

The North Carolina-based company made the decision as fires have ripped through Brazil for weeks and the country is being questioned if it is doing enough to stop them.


Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro responded to the fires this week by sending the in the military, though he insists the fires that have been burning for weeks are under control.

Several world leaders have voiced concerns that Bolsonaro and his government are not doing enough.

Bolsonaro last week drew international headlines for refusing to accept a $20 million fund to fight the fire offered by the countries making up the Group of Seven.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research said the fires in the Amazon this year, with more than 2,600 being recorded this week alone, are the worst since 2010.

Bolsonaro said this week that South American countries containing parts of the Amazon will meet next month to discuss the development and environmental protection of the forest.

Most of the Amazon is in Brazil, but it is also in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

VF Corp, owning brands such as Dickies, Smartwool and JanSport, is one of the largest U.S. companies to publicly pull its business out of Brazil since attention to the fires grew.

The Hill has reached out to VF Corp for comment.

Reuters noted Norway is also urging several companies to make sure they are not contributing to environmental damage in the Amazon.