How to wear Brazilian leather without destroying the Amazon

by | February 11, 2021

Our desire for well-designed clothes, shoes and accessories is having an ecological impact on our planet, but being fashionably heeled doesn’t have to mean leaving a heavy carbon footprint.


Sustainable fashion means that every aspect of designing, manufacturing and distributing fashion goods doesn’t use more natural resources than the planet can naturally replace, or produce anything that the earth can’t naturally reabsorb.

Shoes, leather, the Amazon and sustainability

Since the 1970s, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has largely been the result of clearing space for cattle, to produce meat for food consumption, and more recently, leather goods for the fashion industry. The damage was amounting to one hectare of rainforest every 18 seconds.  In 2019, 41,000 fires were recorded in the Amazon rainforest – a natural resource that stores 80-120bn tonnes of carbon, earning it the moniker “the lungs of the world”..


‘Slash and Burn’ was THE model preferred by cattle ranchers in the 1970s, and was used when clearing the Amazon rainforest in order to support a growing meat and leather industry. Government regulations sanctioned which parts of the forest could be used and how, but illegal deforesting quickly became a widespread problem.

As awareness grew of the environmental impact this was having, the meat industry responded, and by 2013, one of the largest meat companies, JBS was sourcing 96% of their meat from registered properties, publicly disavowing purchase from illegally deforested or embargoed lands.

Around the same time, the fashion industry also had a crisis of conscience. As a prime example, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), pledged €10m to fight the Amazon burn.

However, despite this vow to stop sourcing leather or meat from the Amazon, finding brands that can testify to that are few and far between.

“It requires concrete collective action to provide resources for local specialists to work together on saving our planet.”

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE.


Leather sustainability illustration

One simple way to be more responsible is to check if brands are meeting certains standards. Designers can gain certifications from independent bodies to verify that the leather they use has not come from deforested land, making it easy for people to check a company’s standards when it comes to producing your favourite jacket, belt or pair of brogues.

CSCB certification

The Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability (CSBC) classifies leather based on its economic, environmental, and social impacts. Certification can be either Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.  This is a national seal, taking only an industry’s environmental impact into consideration.

Lux Commune shoes use Gold Certified wherever possible. This means that, at minimum, the leather meets at least 90% of all the criteria when it comes to protecting the environment.

Our Brazilian leather also often has a Global Certification from the Leather Working Group.

We are proud to say you can wear our designs with a clear conscience, knowing you haven’t participated in any damage to the Brazilian rainforest when you purchase our footwear.


Emily is the founder and senior creative of Lux Commune. She grew up in country Australia, where her family raised sheep and cattle, producing wool and beef.  Emily created Lux Commune to share her passion for high-quality design, beautiful raw materials, sustainability and world cultures.

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