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11 Apr 2024

// France 24 avec AFP,
Jack Graham and Andre Cabette Fabio, Reuters,
Süddeutsche Zeitung

Brazil: Investigation links European retail giants to "dirty" Brazilian cotton; includes company comments

Image of a field of cotton

Read the report here

"Fashion Crimes, 11 April 2024

...The world’s largest fashion brands, H&M and Zara, allegedly use cotton linked to land grabbing, illegal deforestation, violence, human rights violations and corruption in Brazil.

The cotton is grown by two of Brazil’s largest agribusinesses – SLC Agrícola and the Horita Group – in western Bahia state, a part of the precious Cerrado biome, which has been heavily deforested in recent decades to make way for industrial-scale agriculture.

Unlike in the Amazon, deforestation in the Cerrado is getting worse. The biome is home to five per cent of the world’s species. Many face extinction due to habitat loss if current deforestation trends are not reversed.

For centuries, traditional communities have lived in harmony with nature. These communities have seen their lands stolen and suffered attacks by greedy agribusinesses serving global cotton markets.

The tainted cotton in H&M and Zara’s supply chains is certified as ethical by the world’s largest cotton certification scheme, Better Cotton, which has failed to detect the illegalities committed by SLC and Horita...

Failure by the fashion sector to monitor and ensure sustainability and legality in its cotton supply chains means governments in wealthy consumer markets must regulate them. Once in place, rules must be strictly enforced...