Levi’s, M&S Among Latest Brands Proving Deforestation Is Out of Style

Fashion Loved by Forest, the campaign spearheaded by Canadian forest conservation nonprofit Canopy that is rallying the fashion industry to commit to deforestation-free materials, continues to gain momentum. Just weeks after announcing the addition of EcoPlanet Bamboo — the largest global developer of certified bamboo plantations on degraded lands, Canopy announced today that Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer, fashion brand Aritzia, online retailer ASOS, and lifestyle brands Under the Canopy and Portico are joining the initiative. Their commitments add even greater momentum to the growing global shift in fabric sourcing as brands work to ensure future supply doesn’t harm endangered forests or contribute to deforestation.

Coinciding with today’s announcement, Canopy is releasing a report entitled A Snapshot of Change: One Year of Fashion Loved by Forest. It provides an overview of the momentum within the clothing sector that has moved the campaign from zero to warp speed within the space of 12 months and highlights key endangered forest ‘hotspots’ that should be protected from the impacts of the dissolving pulp and viscose sectors.

Most rayon, viscose, modal, lyocell and other trademarked cellulosic fabrics start their journey as trees. Canopy’s research has found that ancient and endangered forests are increasingly making their way into clothing.

The continued expansion of the dissolving pulp industry, estimated to double global production in the next decade, has captured the attention of the fashion industry. The dawning realization that certain materials used to produce shirts, skirts, t-shirts and suit jacket linings are contributing to the loss of endangered species habitat, as well as carbon-storing soils and trees that help stabilize our climate has galvanized the fashion sector into action.

“Building on our long-standing commitment to sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co. is joining this effort to address the sustainable sourcing of forest-based fabrics,” said Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability for Levi Strauss & Co. “We look forward to working with other apparel companies, as well as with our suppliers and Canopy, to increase transparency and traceability in our supply chain and ensure that the world’s ancient and endangered forests are not used to make our products.”

Over 25 brands, retailers and designers, representing over USD 75 billion in annual sales, including Zara/Inditex, H&M, EILEEN FISHER, Patagonia and Stella McCartney, have committed to eliminate their use of fabrics that contain endangered forest fiber; engage their suppliers to shift away from any endangered forest sourcing, advance long-term conservation solutions and alternative fabric options that are more sustainable such as recycled fabrics or non-wood fibers such as straw.

“This is an important initiative for the fashion industry. If we act now we can eradicate deforestation from the supply chains of man-made fibers,” said Fiona Wheatley, Marks & Spencer’s Sustainable Development Manager. “We’re embracing the vision and are ready to work with our peers to create real change on the ground to ensure a bright future for threatened forests.”

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