Canadian forest-conservation NGO Canopy has announced six new brand partnerships in its successful CanopyStyle initiative, through which more than 65 major fashion brands, designers and retailers have pledged to end the use of ancient and endangered forests in their rayon supply chains.
Viscose and rayon fibers are made from wood pulp and are some of the most widely used in clothing and textiles, threatening endangered forests. Approximately 120 million trees are logged annually for fabrics and about a third of them are sourced from ancient and/or endangered forests.
Companies launching their new forest and fabric policies with Canopy today include Esprit; multinational grocery chain Tesco; Simons, a leading fashion outlet currently expanding across Canada; international fast-fashion chain New Look; Swedish fashion chain KappAhl; and LA-based sustainable luxury brand Sage Larock. These new brand commitments add significant momentum to CanopyStyle; the collective goal is to ensure that the global rayon/viscose supply chain is free of endangered forests by 2017.
“Today’s leaders clearly show that sourcing from endangered forests is no longer fashionable,” said Nicole Rycroft, founder and Executive Director of Canopy. “Thanks to the forest commitments of more than 65 fashion brands, we are seeing dramatic shifts in the rayon supply chain. We look forward to bringing this momentum into our work with viscose producers in China, where in late May we continue a series of negotiations and will present at their association conference.”
“At Tesco, we know our customers want great, affordable fashion. And they also want it without compromising on social and environmental standards,” said Tesco's Responsible Sourcing Director, Giles Bolton. “We’re pleased to be working with CanopyStyle and other fashion leaders to ensure that our viscose comes from sustainable sources.”
“For over 20 years Esprit has paid special attention to the social and environmental impacts of apparel manufacturing, pioneering the use of organic cotton, and launching ‘green’ business practices long before it became standard,” said Luis Gonzaga, SVP – Head of Global Supply at Esprit. “This partnership with Canopy, and our pledge to end the use of endangered forest fibers is an exciting new initiative for Esprit, and one we are excited to be a part of.”
Audits verifying the status of policy implementation by viscose/rayon producers are expected over the coming months. Canopy looks forward to analyzing the results of these audits along with rayon producers’ progress on forest conservation efforts and use of alternative fibers. The use of recycled clothing and/or non-wood fibers as feedstock for fabric production instead of trees is a critical element of the CanopyStyle initiative, systemically alleviating the burden on forest ecosystems and contributing to a circular economy for textiles. Another key component is leadership to help secure conservation of key ancient and endangered forests such as the Broadback Forest in Canada’s Boreal forest, Vancouver Island’s Rainforests and Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem.
“Nowadays, a world-class company must understand and reduce its impact on the environment. By partnering with Canopy, La Maison Simons is demonstrating its commitment to the protection of the world’s last ancient forests, including those found very close to home, in Canada’s Boreal,” said CEO Peter Simons.
CanopyStyle has set a trend for collaboration between Canopy and brands and retailers such as H&M, Zara/Inditex, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer, EILEEN FISHER, Stella McCartney, G-Star Raw, Arcadia Group, C&A China, and Lindex to eliminate forest-based materials from textile supply chains. The 65 signatories represent a purchasing power of over $85 billion in annual sales.
To date nine viscose producers, representing more than 65 percent of the global market, have adopted endangered forest-free sourcing policies since the campaign began in 2013. The viscose supply chain is poised for swift progress — just ten companies control three-quarters of global production.