Two of the world’s largest clothing brands and retail leaders, H&M and Inditex-Zara parent company, have recently committed to eliminate endangered forests from all of their rayon and viscose clothing in the “Fashion Loved by Forest” campaign. In partnership with environmental organization Canopy and backed by sustainability brand Loomstate, the companies, the companies have made this huge move in order to address the growing impacts of the clothing industry on the world’s forests, biodiversity and climate.
Threatened forests are routinely making their way into clothing, according to Canopy research – even the world’s most endangered forests, from Indonesia all the way to the Boreal forests, are increasingly being cut down, pulped and spun into rayon, viscose, modal and other fabrics to create suit jacket linings, dresses, skirts, t-shirts and tank tops seen in most stores.
It doesn’t end there, either – the dissolving pulp andviscose industry poses an increasing risk to threatened forest ecosystems around the world as it is poised for continued ambitious expansion, threatening the lives of critically endangered species. However, the new commitments by these brands will help the clothing industry set foot in right direction toward curtailing the problem and building solutions.
Image credits: Fashion Love by Forest
“These clothing sector leaders are showing that being stylish doesn’t have to cost the earth,” Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s executive director, says. “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.”
With enormous market and cultural influence, the global apparel industry is a $1.2 trillion USD sector, and with Inditex and H&M, in concert with Loomstate, EILEEN FISHER, Quiksilver and 17 other brands and designers supporting Canopy’s “Fashion Loved by Forest” initiative, supply-chain transparency specific to forest-fabric sourcing is beginning to be tackled. The combined company efforts will not only help them avoid fiber from contentious forest regions, but will also send a powerful signal to the logging and pulp sectors that market demands are shifting.
Henrik Lampa, Environmental Sustainability Manager at H&M, says H&M wants to play a strong role in ensuring a future for the planet’s “ancient” and endangered forests.
“We are fully committed to exploring our supply chain and doing our utmost to avoid these fabrics within the next three years”, Lampa says. “Working with Canopy, we are excited to take the additional step of encouraging leaders throughout the supply chain to support conservation in endangered forests, so our actions create lasting change.”
Last year, an estimated 70 million trees, only half of what’s expected in the next 20 years, were cut for fabric production. The last intact rainforests of Indonesia are falling at a shocking rate, but with the critical combined efforts of leading brands, designers, retailers, models, suppliers, fashionistas and Canopy, the demise of critical forest ecosystems can be slowed and, eventually, reversed.