Aritzia, ASOS, Levi Strauss & Co. join companies in effort to safeguard the world’s forests

Vancouver-based Canopy  let big clothes companies know rayon, viscose, modal, lyocell and other trademarked cellulosic fabrics start their journey as trees.

Photos by Evan Leeson (left) and Victoria Pickering

Environmental not-for-profit organization Canopy made an earth-friendly announcement today that could make a major impact on the global shift in fabric sourcing. Here it is below:

 As experts gathered yesterday in London to assess the accelerating rate of global forest loss and address the Innovation Forum theme, “How Business Can Tackle Deforestation”, the future of endangered forests shines just a little brighter with the latest announcement from Canopy.

Global icon Levi Strauss & Co., British retail institution Marks & Spencer, fashion brand Aritzia, online retailer ASOS and lifestyle brands Under the Canopy and Portico, are joining the not-for-profit’s Fashion Loved by Forest 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 yesterday'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.

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.

“The largest and most iconic clothing brands on earth are sending clear signals that are growing in strength and conviction: no more ancient and endangered forest fibre in our fashions,” said Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy. “Systemic change in fibre sourcing is becoming unavoidable.”

“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 fibre; 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 fibres like 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 fibres,” 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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