When we talk about fabrics coming from the forests we are almost exclusively referring to viscose (also known as rayon). Viscose is a key material for us – we use it throughout our collections. Viscose starts its life as a tree.
- First, a tree is cut down. The trees we use for our viscose are carefully sourced from a sustainably managed and certified forest in Sweden. (It is also important to note that these forests are not ancient or endangered, a fact that has been confirmed though a CanopyStyle Audit – more on Canopy a bit later).
- The trees are then put through a pulping process at the Domsjö Fabrikerin Mill in Sweden to extract the crucial cellulose part.
- This cellulose pulp is sent to a viscose mill where it is processed to make a viscose filament. Our pulp is sent to the ENKA viscose filament mill in Germany.
- The viscose filament is sent to one of our fabric mills in Italy to create a yarn that is woven into a fabric. Maintaining an entirely European supply chain means that we have a lower impact when it comes to transportation and an unprecedented level of traceability).
Why we are calling our viscose ‘forest friendly’
As of the Spring 2017 collection all of our ready-to-wear viscose comes from sustainably managed and certified forests in Sweden.
The processing of the pulp into a viscose filament takes place in Germany and our fabric and yarns are made in Italy. This means that we have a fully traceable, transparent European supply chain. This also means that we can be confident that our viscose is not directly or indirectly contributing to the destruction of our planet’s remaining ancient and endangered forests.
Why we worried about being forest friendly…
We need to stop the destruction of our planet’s last intact and rapidly diminishing ancient and endangered forests!
Each year more than 120 million trees are logged solely for fabric production. The need for urgent change is compelling and abundantly clear. Cellulosic fabrics such as viscose and lyocell are a direct product of trees cut down exclusively to feed dissolving pulp mills. Forest ecosystems affected include the northern Boreal Forests of Canada and Russia, Coastal Temperate Rainforests of western North America, and the Tropical Rainforests of Indonesia, South East Asia and Brazil.
What drives the destruction of forests may vary from region to region, but no matter what the cause, the common link is us. Human activity is behind every major cause of forest destruction, whether it is to support the industries that make everyday products or to clear space to grow our food.
Deforestation has wide-ranging and serious negative impacts but one of the most dramatic is the loss of habitat for millions of species. 70% of the species on land live in forests and many will not survive once they lose their homes.
Deforestation is also one of the key drivers of climate change. On average 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere annually due to deforestation. That figure is the equivalent of 600 million cars being driven for a year.*
Taking all of this into consideration, you can see why we are so passionate about ensuring that our products come from non-endangered, sustainably managed forests.
Ancient and endangered forests regulate our planet – providing clean air, a stable climate and biodiversity. We are committed to being a zero deforestation company, meaning that we don’t want any of our operations or products to contribute to the destruction of forests.
In 2014 we partnered with an NGO called Canopy and made a commitment to ensure that all of our cellulose fabrics (viscose) meet strict sustainability standards by 2017. We wanted to ensure that the raw materials used to make our fabrics neither contributed to the loss of ancient and endangered forests nor originated from other controversial sources. Having proudly met this goal, we can be certain that none of our products are directly or indirectly contributing to deforestation or forest degradation.
In addition to ensuring endangered forests are not logged to make clothing, we are working with Canopy to advance visionary solutions that protect key conservation areas such as the Leuser Ecosystem, in Sumatra, Indonesia northern Boreal Forests and the Rainforests of Canada. We work to ensure that our suppliers acknowledge traditional and indigenous communities’ rights to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent before logging takes place.
We are also exploring the development of the next generation of sustainable fabrics made from recycled materials and agricultural residues.
In addition, we are also supporting other forest conservation efforts by purchasing carbon offsets for company travel with REDD+. If you want to offset your personal carbon use and support forest conservation, visit Stand for Trees to find out more.
* Union of Concerned Scientists; ‘Measuring the Role of Deforestation in Global Warming’. December 9, 2013. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/stop-deforestation/deforestation-global-warming-carbon-emissions.html#.V35UvpMrIWo