Retailers and brands including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Adidas are throwing their weight behind a campaign calling for greater transparency in global supply chains that can contribute to deforestation.

Timed to coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project claims deforestation is responsible for around 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.

And it wants greater traceability across supply chains that put forests at risk, especially those that involve cattle production in the Amazon region and feed into industries such as leather used in footwear and handbags.

As well as arguing that many consumers are unaware of the 'forest footprint' embedded in the products they use, the FFD Project, which was launched by the UK-based Global Canopy Programme, has also surveyed companies to find out how they are managing their impact on forests.

"Our participation in this project will help guide internal efforts to create transparency in our supply chain," explains Frank Henke, global director of group social & environmental affairs at Adidas Group.

He adds that it "offers the Adidas Group a good tool to analyse and screen the company's direct and indirect forest footprint in its global business operations."

Earlier this year Greenpeace accused top sports and fashion brands including Gucci, Adidas/Reebok, Timberland, Geox, Clarks and Nike of contributing to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest by using leather from cattle reared on farms responsible for deforestation.