Global fashion brands highlight new solutions to viscose made from ancient and endangered forests
Environmental not-for-profit Canopy has announced the addition of a host of new brand commitments aimed at developing next-generation rayon and viscose fabrics that will reduce sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests. With the addition of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Allbirds, ELK, Reformation and Selfridges, the CanopyStyle initiative has now reached over 170 brand partners since its launch in 2013.
Today's announcement also brings the number of companies working with Canopy to bring their technologies to market at scale to eight, with textile innovators Nanollose, which has pioneered a ‘tree-free rayon’ fiber; and Tyton Biosciences, which recycles discarded clothing to produce the building blocks of petroleum- and plant-based fabrics, also joining CanopyStyle.
“By transforming waste into rayon/viscose fiber, we are now able to repurpose what was considered unusable just a few years ago,” says Alfie Germano, CEO of Nanollose. “Through CanopyStyle and the support of its brands and associates, development of these next-generation solutions is leading the way to a world that consumes less resources along with pioneering new sustainable alternatives that ultimately contribute to the protection of forests, species and the climate.”
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome these new brands to the CanopyStyle family,” says Canopy founder and Executive Director Nicole Rycroft. “Today, many small companies are developing next-generation fabrics with technologies that will reuse, reduce or recycle what is now landfilled, burned or ignored as waste. The growing demand and support of 170 global brands is another promising sign that these alternative fibers will be at commercial scale production in the foreseeable future.”
All partner brands have committed to eliminating their use of ancient and endangered forests, as well as advancing conservation solutions in landscapes of hope such as Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, Vancouver Island’s rainforests and the Broadback Forest in the Canadian Boreal.
Many consumers may still not grasp the link between some of their favorite fabrics and the environmental devastation that’s emerged as a result of their production, so last year Canopy released a short film, “Canopy Follows the Thread,” which contrasts the beauty of Indonesia’s embattled Leuser Ecosystem — a hotspot for sourcing of tree fibers for a variety of products, including viscose — with images of deforestation and eucalyptus monoculture, shedding light on how the wellbeing of forests, species and local communities are threatened by various industries, including fashion. But over the last year, Canopy and its brand, retail and design partners have catalyzed significant transformation of the viscose supply chain. Through work with producers and other industry stakeholders, companies representing 52 percent of global viscose supply have now completed the CanopyStyle Audit process, which assesses supply chain risk, recommends measures to reduce impact on forests and tracks corporate progress on innovative fibers.