The world’s two largest clothing brands are making commitments to eliminate ancient and endangered forests from all of their rayon and viscose clothing. Where is the link of clothing industry with deforestation? It’s called viscosa or ryon. They are produced with the dissolving pulp, which ultimately comes form the trees. Precious forests are cut down, pulped and spun into suit jacket linings, dresses, skirts, t-shirts and tank tops. The dissolving pulp/viscose industry is poised for continued ambitious expansion and poses an increasing risk to threatened forest ecosystems around the world.
The companies, retail and design leaders H&M and Zara/Inditex, developed new purchasing commitments in partnership with award-winning Canadian environmental organization Canopy. Well-known sustainability brand Loomstate is also backing the “Fashion Loved by Forest” campaign. Canopy research has found that threatened forests are routinely making their way into clothing.
Rayon, viscose, modal and other trademarked fabrics are increasingly made from the world’s most endangered forests, from the tropical rainforests of Indonesia to the great northern Boreal Forests. “These clothing sector leaders are showing that being stylish doesn’t have to cost the earth,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. "Canopy is excited to see two of the largest brands, both major trendsetters, stepping up to ensure fabrics are no longer sourced from the world’s endangered forests."
Last year, an estimated 70 million trees were cut for fabric production, a number projected to double in the next 20 years. The last intact rainforests of Indonesia are falling at an alarming rate and species such as the critically endangered orang utan may vanish within our lifetimes if this trend is not reversed The global apparel industry is a $1.2 trillion USD sector with enormous market and cultural influence.
Now Inditex/Zara and H&M, in concert with Loomstate, EILEEN FISHER, Quiksilver, and 17 other brands and designers supporting Canopy’s Fashion Loved by Forest initiative (www.canopystyle.org) will be tackling supply-chain transparency specific to forest-fabric sourcing. Their efforts will both help them avoid fibre from contentious forest regions and send a powerful signal to the logging and pulp sectors that market demands are shifting.