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New Global Map of Ancient, Endangered Forests Brings Conservation Science to Boardrooms

Today marks the public launch of a new online tool that will enable global companies to identify the world’s ancient and endangered forests.

ForestMapper, developed by international environmental not-for-profit Canopy, is the first-ever interactive map of its kind and is designed to support companies worldwide in making better sustainability decisions when purchasing paper, packaging, lumber and/or viscose fabrics. It aims to be a key tool in the global push by brands, governments and conservationists to halt deforestation, advance protection of key forest landscapes and combat climate change.

This map release follows closely on the recent publication of the University of Queensland and WCS article in Nature,Protect the Last of the Wild,” and WWF’s Living Planet Report revealing the decline of species populations by 60 percent since 1970. There is clearly a trend toward using new mapping technology to show the urgent need for conservation solutions on the ground.

More than 100 companies already publicly support ForestMapper, and are committed to using it to assess and reduce their risk of sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests.

“The ForestMapper tool, which maps out ancient and endangered forests, has the potential to generate positive impacts on the world’s forests, species and climate,” said Félix Poza, Chief Sustainability Officer at Inditex. “This practical tool will help us to make the best sourcing decisions that protect species-rich ecosystems, and ultimately ensure that we reach our sustainability goals.”

With 30 percent of the climate solution attributed to keeping carbon-rich forests standing, tools such as ForestMapper are in demand. Additionally, corporate consumers are increasingly aware that ancient and endangered forests are critical to sustaining biodiversity, ensuring species survival and maintaining community livelihoods.

Canopy has already had remarkable success driving change in the deeply embedded, forest-endangering production practices of the fashion industry with its CanopyStyle campaign, now the fastest-moving environmental initiative in the fashion industry. Over 125 global brands and designers, worth $134 billion in revenues, have joined the campaign with pledges to end the use of fabrics sourced from ancient and endangered forests — such as rayon and viscose — in their creations, and Canopy says more brands are poised to join throughout 2018. With impressive engagement by global giants such as H&M, ZARA, Burberry and Levi Strauss, eco-fashion exemplars including Stella McCartney and EILEEN FISHER, and seven of the world’s largest viscose producers, CanopyStyle is generating incredible momentum for forest conservation, human rights and the transformation of an unsustainable supply chain.

Now, ForestMapper promises to build on the momentum of CanopyStyle and Canopy’s other global forest conservation efforts.

“Pressure on the world’s forest ecosystems is intensifying, every year, 2.4 billion trees are logged for fashion and packaging alone. ForestMapper breaks conservation science out of the halls of academia and into the boardrooms of the world’s largest corporate consumers of forest products,” said Nicole Rycroft, founder and Executive Director of Canopy. “Applied science tools such as ForestMapper are essential, as they enable companies to leverage the billions of dollars they spend each year on paper, packaging, viscose, pulp and lumber to minimize their supply chain impacts while advancing large- scale conservation and sustainable forestry.”

Canopy will support businesses that do find risk in their supply chains to conduct additional diligence with their suppliers, while producers operating in areas that contain ancient and endangered forests are encouraged to work with local partners to establish rigorous conservation planning in the region, such as in the Great Bear Rainforest. Conservation planning will help identify which areas need to be conserved or restored and which areas will support sustainable forestry.