While textile waste and human rights are often the focus of conversations surrounding sustainability in the fashion industry, most consumers remain unaware of the sector’s impact on forests and the wildlife and communities that rely on them. In a bid to raise awareness around the need to protect this valuable natural resource, Canopy, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the world’s forests, has launched a new video for International Day of Forests that connects clothing to the rainforests of Northern Sumatra.
Created by award-winning documentary filmmakers Cristina Colissimo and Jordana Glick-Franzheim, CanopyStyle Follows the Thread takes viewers to the heart of the struggle to protect Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, the last place on earth where orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinoceros — all critically endangered — still co-exist in the wild.
“This season’s styles currently leave their trace on forests and communities around the world. CanopyStyle Follows the Thread tells the story of how viscose clothing has compromised the tropical rainforests and forest dependent communities of Northern Sumatra. And it shows how global brands are galvanizing to transform the viscose supply chain to be more sustainable and ultimately help protect magical landscapes like the Leuser Ecosystem,” said Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy.
The short film contrasts the beauty of the Leuser Ecosystem with images of deforestation and eucalyptus monoculture, shedding light on how the wellbeing of forests, species and local communities in neighboring areas are threatened by various industries including viscose production. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The film demonstrates how the CanopyStyle initiative is helping bring hope to these communities, landscapes and species.
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The five-minute video showcases the work the organization has been doing with its partner brands to reduce the impact of wood sourcing and the viscose supply chain on ancient and endangered forests. This collaborative approach, which unites 125 global fashion brands representing $134 billion in annual revenues, has had a considerable impact. Together, Canopy and its brand partners have already helped put 25 million acres of the world’s carbon and species rich forests under formal protection or moratoria from logging.
Seventy percent of the world’s rayon-viscose producers have developed formal CanopyStyle commitments to stop sourcing from ancient and endangered forests, and 25 percent of the world’s viscose supply has been verified as low risk of containing fiber derived from ancient and endangered forests by CanopyStyle Audits. What’s more, 12,500 acres of land has been returned to the Indigenous community of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta by the President of Indonesia.
Coinciding with the video launch and International Day of Forests, CanopyStyle’s 125 participating brands — including Stella McCartney, Woolworths, ASOS and EILEEN FISHER — will be spreading the word about the importance of forests globally on their social media channels.