Global deforestation and leather in EU’s car production value chains

Through the journey of leather, this Supply Chain World Map, prepared with the collaboration of MEP Anna Cavazzini and Earthsight, illustrates the extent to which European consumption is unwittingly driving deforestation.

The map shows how leather used in the cars of some of Europe’s largest automotive firms is linked to illegal deforestation in Paraguay.

The illustration details a process through which forest is illegally cleared on a protected indigenous reserve used for raising cattle. This sets off a chain of events that ultimately sees the leather ending up in the supply chains of major European car firms.

It is one of the numerous examples that expose Europe’s complicity in both the destruction of essential natural habitats and in abuses of human rights overseas. It thereby reinforces the strong case for an ambitious and effective EU due diligence legislation.

It also provides a link to the EU-Mercosur agreement: under the Mercosur deal, lower beef tariffs could lead to a quadrupling of Paraguay’s current beef exports to the EU. Mercosur’s export of textiles, apparel and leather into the EU could also increase by a third.

Without enforceable and sanctionable standards, the EU-Mercosur deal would thereby fuel yet more tropical deforestation. 

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