Fashion brands pledge to halt sourcing from ancient and endangered forests

Every year, 3.4 billion trees are cut down for man-made cellulosic fibre-based textiles.

Around 15 brands have newly joined the environmental non-profit Canopy’s Pack4Good initiative, aiming to mitigate their impact on ancient and endangered forests by adopting sustainable alternatives such as recycled pulp and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified materials.

These brands include John Lewis & Partners, Kering, Groupe Beaumanoir, Zadig & Voltaire, C&A, PANGAIA, City Threads, 2WO+1NE=2, Zeus + Dione and House of Hackney.

John Lewis Partnership’s sustainability and ethics director Marija Rompani said: “I’m excited that John Lewis is building on our existing work with Canopy, by now also supporting the Pack4Good initiative.

“We’re committed to protecting and restoring nature, and we constantly strive to reduce and improve our packaging.”

John Lewis is also involved in CanopyStyle, another initiative by the non-profit which partners with fashion industry stakeholders to trace and replace viscose fibre origins, thus safeguarding ancient and endangered forests from entering the clothing supply chain.

According to Canopy, every year, 3.4 billion trees are cut down for man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF)-based textiles, such as viscose and rayon, and paper packaging. This loss is equivalent to two soccer pitches worth of forests being cut down every second.

Canopy’s founder and executive director Nicole Rycroft said: “We are so pleased to welcome these leading fashion brands and brilliant innovators into the Canopy fold.

“There is no better time to keep forests standing and to transform today’s take-make-waste supply chains that underpin the global climate and biodiversity crises.”

The CanopyStyle initiative now includes 566 brands, with more than $1.14trn in annual revenue, while Pack4Good involves 444 brands, worth more than $249bn.

Investment in Next Gen solutions

In addition to protecting forests, the companies will invest in low-carbon, circular fibre alternatives such as Next Gen materials and support global forest conservation and restoration efforts.

Rycroft added: “Next Gen production is the future — we’re excited to expand our community of partners working to build a better future for our planet.”

Among the 15 companies joining the initiative, five of them are Next Gen innovators, including BlockTexx, Genera, Nordic Bioproducts, Pakka and Ponda.

These companies offer a range of technology solutions, including packaging made from miscanthus pulp, clothing waste, wheat straw, or hemp residues, as well as high-quality pulps for textiles and wetland-regenerating fibres.

These alternatives to traditional forest-based materials aim to meet the evolving demands of global brands amidst new governmental regulations on deforestation, climate and eco-design.

This comes after a report last month revealed that fashion industry giants have made little to no progress in addressing their negative social and environmental impacts over the past year, despite growing awareness and calls for change.

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