From the forests of Paraguay to Europe and onward to global automotive giants, Grand Theft Chaco reveals how luxury cars are made with leather from the stolen lands of an uncontacted tribe. Continue reading
A new Earthsight investigation has linked the illegal clearance of South American forest inhabited by one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes with some of Europe’s biggest car manufacturers. The clearances occurred in the Gran Chaco, a precious bioregion home to jaguars and giant anteaters whose forests are being destroyed faster than any others on earth. This destruction is being driven by cattle ranching firms to meet international demand for beef and leather.
Earthsight identified cattle ranches that have illegally cleared forest inhabited by the Ayoreo Totobiegosode - the only indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation anywhere in the Americas outside the Amazon rainforest. Earthsight investigators discovered the slaughterhouses buying cattle from these ranches in Paraguay and traced the supply chain carrying cattle hides onward to some of Europe’s largest tanneries in Italy, the main destination for Paraguayan leather.
During undercover visits, the Paraguayan tanneries concerned bragged of supplying a number of famous cars, including BMW models and the Range RoverEvoque. Grand Theft Chaco: The luxury cars made with leather from the stolen lands of an uncontacted tribe highlights the urgent need for EU and UK legislation mandating car companies and other industries to conduct proper due diligence to ensure that their purchases of forest risk commodities do not contribute to deforestation and other abuses. Official responses from BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and other companies named in the investigation can be found in the report.
The report was covered by over 50 media outlets across more than a dozen countries. This included articles by Reuters, Der Spiegel, The Telegraph, The Independent, Corriere Della Sera, Tagesschau, AFP, and Paraguay's ABC among others.