sustainability Fibres from forests

We sustainably source our viscose in a way that helps to protect ancient forests and the species that live there. We are also able to trace all of our viscose right back to its forest of origin, ensuring that it comes from sustainably managed forests.

Viscose, also known as rayon, starts its life as a tree. As it is one of our key materials, we are committed to making sure that the places we source from are protected and enriched. Because forests provide us with clean water and air, give us food, medicine, resources like timber, as well as being a habitat for the majority of the worlds’ birds and animals.

But every year, 150 million trees are cut down to create fabric.¹ That’s why, as of our Spring 2017 collection, all of our ready-to-wear viscose comes from sustainably managed and certified forests in Sweden.2

Protecting forests and biodiversity

Healthy forests play a critical role in slowing down climate change because they soak up carbon dioxide. On the other hand, however, their destruction (i.e. deforestation) is one of the key drivers of climate change, accounting for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.3 Deforestation is also the cause of habitat loss for millions of species. More than 80% of species that live on land (animals, plants and insects) reside in forests4 and once they have lost their home, most species do not survive.

That is why we are committed to meeting strict forestry standards.

Our primary viscose supply chain is fully traceable, transparent and entirely European. We carefully source pulp from trees that come from an FSC-certified forest in Sweden, which is neither ancient nor endangered. The pulp is then turned into a viscose filament in Germany and then made into fabric in Italy. This gives us a level of traceability that is unprecedented and ensures we are not directly or indirectly contributing to the destruction of forests.

Our other forest based fabrics, including acetate and modal, also come from sustainably managed forests that are not ancient or endangered.

  • Deforestation
    • Simply put; deforestation is the destruction of forests by humans.
    • Deforestation comes in many forms, including fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching and development and unsustainable logging for timber. However, the biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture.5 6
    • In the Amazon, roughly 17% of the rainforest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. 7
    • Forests and trees have the greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions. Reforestation, avoided forest loss and better forestry practices, could cost-effectively remove 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually by 2030.8
  • Ancient and endangered forests
    • Ancient and endangered forests are defined as intact forest landscape mosaics, naturally rare forest types, forest types that have been made rare due to human activity, and/or other forests that are ecologically critical for the protection of biological diversity.9
    • Key endangered forests globally include the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests of British Columbia, Alaska and Chile; Tropical forests and peat lands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa.
  • Sustainable forestry
    • Managing forests sustainably means using forests in a way that maintains their productivity, biodiversity, and regeneration capacity, as well as ensuring that they can meet society’s needs now and in the future.10
    • Good sustainable forestry practices mimic nature’s patterns of disturbance and regeneration – balancing the needs of the environment, wildlife, and forest communities, supporting decent livelihoods while conserving our forests for generations to come.11
  • Supporting research
    • In 2017, we released the results of a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), an internationally recognized scientific methodology, comparing the environmental performance of ten different raw material sources of manmade cellulose fibres (MMCF) such as viscose.
    • After realising that there was little data available about the environmental impacts of viscose production, we decided to fill that gap by commissioning our own study.
    • This was the first time a comparative LCA had ever been commissioned that evaluates global sourcing scenarios for ten MMCF supply chain.
    • The study examined a broad range of environmental issues, from the time raw materials are obtained from forests, through the production of viscose and other MMCFs.
    • The study helps us to ensure that our products are free from fibres derived from ancient and endangered forests, but more importantly we hope that it will serve as an informative and guiding tool for the industry. Our aim in to doing this study was to help bring attention to the impact that MMCF sourcing can have on the world’s forests, species and freshwater, as well as our global climate and human health.

Our supplier

All of our viscose supplier, ENKA’s, yarns fulfil the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®

The following points differentiate our supplier from other viscose filament yarn manufacturers:

  • Eliminating chemicals; energy efficiency; regulations
    • ENKA complies with the requirements of DETOX, which eliminates the use of 11 hazardous chemical groups, and ZDHC MRSL, a list of chemical substances banned from intentional use.
    • All relevant parts of our production work in closed circuits which allows regaining and recycling of raw-materials (including chemicals) and minimizes the impact on the environment.
    • Energy efficient power plant running on gas (power heat cogeneration).
    • Biological waste water treatment plant.
    • The only byproducts of our manufacturing are glauber salt and cellulose yarn residues. Both are sold for further usage into different industries creating a more circular system.
    • The chemicals in our process are needed to transform cellulose into a liquid and reverse the process to a pure cellulose thread at the end. During this process most of the chemicals are used-up in chemical reactions. What is left over will be regained and recycled for further use.
    • For all emissions into air and water there exist very strict regulations by national and EU laws. ENKA is 100% compliant with all German and European governmental requirements. Emissions into the ground are not allowed at all.

Pioneering conservation solutions

In 2014, we established a partnership with Canopy, an NGO developing solutions to protect the world’s ancient and endangered forests.

Canopy played a key role in helping us to verify that our supply chain was truly free from ancient and endangered forests. Now, we are working together to advance visionary solutions that protect conservation areas in places like Sumatra, Indonesia and Canada.

Sustainably sourced wood and paper

All of the wood used in our shoes, bags, jewellery or any other product comes from sustainably certified sources. The same is true for the paper we use. Sustainable forestry certifications give us the assurance that the wood and paper we use will protect forests for the future.

Sustainable Viscose: The Future of Viscose

We are supporting the development of the next generation of sustainable, recycled, cellulose fibres. Instead of coming from the forests these innovative cellulose fibres are being made from recycled materials such as used cotton garments and agricultural residues (the materials left over after crops have been harvested).

Sustainable viscose supply chain


1 Forests into fashion, Canopy Planet

CanopyStyle Verification and Guidelines Evaluation Report for: Birla Cellulose in Mumbai, India, Rainforest Alliance

3 ‘REDD myth no.1: Deforestation accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions’, Redd-Monitor

4 ‘Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss‘, United Nations

5 6 Deforestation Overview, WWF

7 Deforestation, National Geographic

8 Lands of Opportunity, The Nature Conservancy

9 Protecting Forests, Canopy Planet

Ecological components of endangered forests are: Intact forest landscapes; Remnant forests and restoration cores; Landscape connectivity; Rare forest types; Forests of high species richness; Forests containing high concentrations of rare and endangered species; Forests of high endemism; Core habitat for focal species; Forests exhibiting rare ecological and evolutionary phenomena. As a starting point to geographically locate ancient and endangered forests, maps of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and of intact forest landscapes (IFL), can be used and paired with maps of other key ecological values like the habitat range of key endangered species and forests containing high concentrations of terrestrial carbon and High Carbon Stocks (HCS). Source: The Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments.

10 Sustainable Forest Management, European Commission

11 Sustainable Forestry 101, Rainforest Alliance

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