Cutting ancient trees to produce more and more clothing is a rapidly expanding threat to the world's endangered forests and the communities and species that depend on them. Fashion frequently has an environmental cost that doesn't show up on the price tag. A research recently released by forest conservation organization Canopy, has found that the planet's ancient and endangered forests, from the lush tropical rainforests of Indonesia to the great northern boreal forests, are increasingly being cut down and pulped to make fabrics like rayon and viscose. Canopy has documented fiber from these rare forests turning up in suit jacket linings, dresses and skirts, t-shirts and tank tops. It's a growing and harmful trend. Last year, an estimated 70 million trees were cut for fabric production and it is projected to double in the next 20 years.
As a result, a group of clothing makers such as Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Quiksilver and prAna announced a partnership with Canopy to protect the last remaining intact forests.
In a significant step forward on sustainability, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Quiksilver and prAna are the first to begin working with Canopy to tackle the problem. These companies have developed purchasing policies to help eliminate the use of endangered forest fiber, are engaging their suppliers to further understand their supply chain, supporting research and development of solutions such as recycled viscose and have committed to partner with Canopy in raising awareness of the link between fashion and forest conservation.
"Canopy is thrilled to be working with these conscientious leaders of the clothing industry," said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy Executive Director. "Their actions are setting a new bar for sustainability within the sector and inspiring other large globalplayers. That's good news for the world's forests, species and climate. And for those of us who love both fashion and our planet, we can finally wear our green heart on our sleeve."
Designers, apparel brands, retailers, trendsetters and fashionistas all have a role to play in protecting the planet's forests and climate and assuring a brighter future for the animals that live in our forests like bears, tigers, Woodland caribou and orangutans.
Canopy is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate by changing the market. Canopy collaborates with more than 700 companies to develop innovative solutions, make their supply chains more sustainable and help protect our world's remaining ancient and endangered forests. Canopy's partners include Lonely Planet, Random House, Penguin, The Globe and Mail, Scholastic, Sprint, TC Transcontinental. Canopy's work relies on the support of individual donors who share our passion for the planet.