While we loved the Jackie bag from Gucci that was created from, and called attention to, Brazilian deforestation-free leather, the four digit price tag was a little steep for us to show our environmentalist side. Now, however, a number of fashion brands that cover a range of price points are launching an anti-deforestation effort in conjunction with the Candadian NGO Canopy.
Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Quiksilver, and lululemon athletica are the core members of Canopy’s efforts to get designers to cut products from their supply chains that contribute to deforestation. Wondering what on earth this means, since your clothes aren’t made of wood? An apparently little-known fact: rayon, viscose, and lyocell all use wood pulp in their fabrication. Canopy estimates that at least 70 million trees from endangered forests are felled every year, for the production of about 5 million tons of viscose alone. Many of these trees are being sourced from ancient woodlands, meaning that besides destroying their inhabitants’ habitat, from orangutangs to moose, the forests themselves are irreplaceable for centuries, not just decades.
With forests being logged from the Boreal woods of Canada to the Amazonian rainforest, this problem — like so many that both beset and were created by the fashion industry — is global. Furthermore, rayon manufactured by dissolving-pulp-production (which is what contributes to massive deforestation) is expected to double by 2050. Canopy has gotten the four big name brands previously mentioned, along with a smattering of smaller designers with core sustainability policies, to adhere to strict new production policies, but they’re looking for more labels to sign on. Petition your viscose-loving favorites, and in the meantime, stick with wearing organic or water-conservative cotton, if you can.