$60m grant funding confirmed for initiative tackling deforestation in corporate supply chains

Canopy claims the funding will help it to eliminate the use of trees from ancient and endangered forests across the world in the production of paper, packaging and viscose within ten years. Canopy estimates that some five billion trees are cut down each year to create these materials.

The funding will be used to scale solutions that enable industries like packaging and fashion to use alternative fabrics to virgin viscose, including innovative fabrics made using food industry byproducts and waste.

It will also be used to scale textile recycling solutions which, at present, do not exist at scale for the blended fabrics which are used for the majority of clothes sold online and on the high street.

Similar recycled and upcycled solutions will be scaled for the packaging and paper sectors. Canopy claims that is next-generation solutions typically use 90% less water and up to 75% less energy to manufacture than traditional materials. It also touts reductions in land use in excess of 88%, thus reducing negative impacts on biodiversity.

Canopy is working with more than 900 businesses to help scale these solutions. Supporting businesses include fast fashion giants Primark, River Island, H&M, Gap, Fast Retailing (Uniqlo parent) and Inditex (Zara parent), as well as luxury fashion brands like Burberry, Kering and Hugo Boss. Partners from other sectors include Ikea, Lush, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Ben & Jerry’s.

The new funding is coming from The Audacious Project, which is housed at TED. The project launches in 2018 and awards philanthropic grants each year on behalf of organisations including Virgin Unite and the Skoll Foundation.

“The audacious work being done by Canopy is not only transforming carbon-intensive supply chains at a critical juncture for our planet, but with a network of engaged and willing partners, some truly exciting and innovative solutions can now be delivered at scale,” said the Audacious Project’s executive director Anna Verghese. “We are excited about the change they will catalyze over the coming years with this surge in support.”

Canopy’s executive director Nicole Rycroft recently wrote an exclusive guest blog for edie exploring the role that the private sector has to play in helping eliminate deforestation from global supply chains for good. You can read that blog here.

Related news: Inaction on deforestation undermining corporate net-zero commitments, report finds

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