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Global brands commit to forest-friendly supply chains

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Pexels by Felix Mittermeier

Fashion companies including H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney, and Kering, have announced a collective commitment to purchase over half a million tonnes of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibres for fashion textiles and paper packaging.

Spearheaded by environmental non-profit Canopy at COP27, each signatory company has committed to purchasing 550,000 tonnes of sustainable alternatives to materials sourced from ancient and endangered forests. It is a move that will support the protection of the world’s vital forests and ecosystems and lower forest degradation pressures from the fashion and packaging supply chains.

Each of the companies will transition to forest-friendly supply chains, utilising sustainable, lower-carbon alternatives, known as Next Generation Solutions, to accelerate to nature-positive business models, added Canopy.

Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director at Canopy, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to advance this commitment with forward-looking partners who are willing to challenge the status quo and in doing so provide a breakthrough for these game-changing technologies.

“This commitment will allow us to take a historic leap closer to the 64 billion US dollars of investments in sustainable alternatives needed to ensure forest conservation for our planet’s climate and biodiversity stability.”

H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney, and Kering pledge to purchase Next Generation Solutions

At last year’s UN Climate Change Conference, protecting nature was at the centre of commitments to deliver on global climate targets. Today one-third of the world’s most influential companies have yet to make forest conservation commitments, added Canopy, despite the scientific community’s warnings that at least 50 percent of the world’s forests need to be conserved or restored by 2030 to ensure global temperature rises stay below 1.5 °C.

Every year, over 3.2 billion trees are cut down to produce fibre for packaging and clothing, releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Alternatives to wood, such as agricultural residues and recycled textiles, are readily available and can be scaled to prevent the logging of these forests at this untenable rate. Moving to Next Generation Solutions could help avoid almost 1Gt of CO2 emissions between now and 2030, explains Canopy.

It is thought that the collective commitment from leading companies such as Kering and H&M will help unlock the investment needed to build 10 to 20 new low-footprint, Next Generation pulp mills. This will provide farm communities and cities with new markets to replace the burning of straw residue and textile landfilling and prevent an estimated 2.2 million tonnes of GHG emissions from going into the atmosphere relative to the equivalent production of virgin forest fibre.

When compared to forest fibres, Next-Generation Solutions have on average: 95 to 130 percent less CO2 emissions; 18 to 70 percent less fossil energy resource depletion; 88 to 100 percent less land-use impacts; and at least 5 times lower impact on biodiversity/threatened species.

Commenting on the campaign, Stella McCartney said: “We are collaborating with Canopy to accelerate the development and adoption of Next Generation Solutions within supply chains rooted in forests.

“I am proud to say we have been partnering with Canopy since 2014 and have been a zero-deforestation brand since 2017 – never sourcing from ancient, endangered, or protected forests. We must take action today in order to protect our forests for tomorrow.”

Kering’s head of sustainable sourcing and nature initiatives, Yoann Régent, added: “At Kering, we aim at reducing our footprint on biodiversity, and contribute to preserving and restoring critical ecosystems.

“We are excited to be joining our long-time partner Canopy to support a rapid scale-up of sustainable Next Generation materials production as well as uptake of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibres for textiles and paper packaging.”

and Kering
Stella McCartney