Behavior Change
6 Chinese Rayon Producers Join Effort to End Use of Ancient Forest Fiber in Fabrics

Today, Canadian environmental NGO Canopy welcomes six large Chinese viscose producers to the growing roster of fashion and textile leaders committed to eliminating the world’s ancient and endangered forests from their fabrics. While to date 60 brands and designers, representing more than 85 billion USD in annual revenues, have signed on to the CanopyStyle campaign — triggering the need for deep shifts within the viscose supply chain — the real change will come from producers, who must provide the industry with alternatives.

Shandong Yamei Sci-tech Co. Ltd, Tangshan Sanyou Xingda Chemical Fiber Group Co. Ltd., CHTC Helon Co. Ltd., Nanjing Chemical Fiber Co. Ltd. (NCFC), Zhejiang Fulida Co. Ltd., and Xinxiang Chemical Fiber Co. Ltd. are all unveiling their first Pulp Procurement Policies for Protecting Forests, developed in collaboration with Canopy. The policies commit to eliminating sourcing from threatened forest ecosystems, high-carbon rainforests, and socially controversial sources in the production of their viscose and rayon textiles.

“Leading brands and designers continue to send a clear market signal to the world’s main viscose manufacturers in China,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s founder and Executive Director. “The leadership of these six producers now means that viscose manufacturers representing close to 65 percent of global rayon production are committed to the CanopyStyle campaign — which has established the now global trend that endangered forest fabrics are out of vogue.”

“With the continued shift in brands’ environmental requirements, incorporating sustainable forest fiber procurement criteria is a sound business decision,” said Dr. Christian Reisinger, CEO of Shandong Yamei Sci-tech Co. Ltd. “We are committed to working with all our suppliers and customers to eliminate ancient forests and other controversial sources from our supply chain, particularly from the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests, Coastal Temperate Rainforests, tropical forests and peatlands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa, and other endangered species habitat.”

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“We are on the eve of a revolution in the apparel industry where new alternative fibers such as garment waste, recovered fabrics, agricultural residues, and other non-woods can be part of the solution to reduce the pressure on the world’s forests,” said Li Baikuan from Tangshan Sanyou. “Our company is expanding the scope of our work on alternative fibers and we look to explore whether they can become a replacement for forest fiber. This is a challenge we are happy to face with the support of Canopy.”

Launched in October 2013, the CanopyStyle campaign has now built strong market momentum with over 60 brands, designers, and retailers adopting commitments to address the rising use of fiber from ancient and endangered forest in fabrics. As a strategic and customer-focused part of the fashion supply chain, viscose producers have responded rapidly and favorably to the need for new forest conservation solutions.

In addition to these six companies announcing their new policies, Aditya Birla, Lenzing and Sateri have made similar bold commitments in the past year. In this supply chain, where the top 10 viscose producers represent approximately 75 per cent of the global production of such fabrics, the next milestone expected from producers with forest protection policies is independent third-party verification. Canopy will analyze how the top 10 viscose producers perform in comparison to their peers in the industry with a benchmark report to be released in the late Spring of 2016.

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