Our viscose supply chain
By partnering with Canopy, we can assess all available suppliers on a ‘scorecard’ and select our preferred suppliers based on chemical assessments; we avoid those that are flagged as chemically and water intensive.
Our viscose supply chain is proudly transparent and entirely traceable. All of our viscose comes from Europe or the US.
The process begins at a forest level. Trees are grown and managed in accordance with the Forest Stewardship’s forest management standard, preventing deforestation and protecting biodiversity, while engaging local and Indigenous communities.
Next, the wood gets turned into pulp and becomes a fibre. This is spun into yarn and then eventually crafted into viscose.
We have two preferred viscose suppliers that reach high social and environmental standards, as well as methods to reduce chemical and water use throughout production
- ENKA®: our ENKA® wood pulp originates in the US from private, trusted landowners – fully traceable down to the state. The wood pulp is processed in Germany and then continues along our supply chain in Italy
- LENZING®: our LENZING® wood pulp is from Europe and is processed in Austria before continuing along our supply chain in Italy
- BAILU®: our BAILU® wood pulp comes from Europe and is post-consumer recycled cellulose pulp.
Measuring the impact of viscose
After realising that there was little data available about the environmental impacts of Man-Made Cellulose Fibres (MMCF) production, we commissioned our own study.
In 2017, we released the results of a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – an internationally recognised, scientific methodology comparing the environmental performance of 10 different raw material sources of MMCFs, including viscose.
This was the first time a comparative LCA had ever been commissioned to evaluate global sourcing scenarios for 10 MMCF supply chains. The study examined a broad range of environmental issues, from the time raw materials are obtained from forests, through to the production of viscose and other MMCFs.
The study helps ensure our products are free from fibres derived from ancient and endangered forests. More importantly, we hope it will serve as an informative and guiding tool for the industry. Our aim in conducting this research 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.
The future of viscose
While our forest-friendly viscose is kinder to Mother Earth, our fellow creatures and people, viscose is still virgin wood pulp – requiring trees to be cut down. Ecosystems cannot fully be replaced simply by replanting trees.
It is our Stella vision to eventually shift away from virgin wood pulp inputs entirely. We believe the future of viscose in fashion is about using Nex-Gen and recycled inputs – like agricultural waste and post-consumer textiles – to make viscose and displace the role of virgin tree pulp. We want to tread even lighter on our planet and we are working hard to get there.
Viscose material innovations
Evrnu® and NuCycl™
Evrnu® are a US-based start-up that have developed a game-changing technology that transforms cotton waste into cellulose – NuCycl™ is a new engineered fibre crafted consciously from liquefied cotton waste.
We believe that solutions like NuCycl™ are key to innovating the future of fashion. The fashion industry only recycles an estimated 1% of garments and only 12% of textiles get a second life11.
Further support for our forests
In the run-up to our Winter 2019 show, we launched our #ThereSheGrows campaign –, raising awareness about the deforestation of the Leuser Forest in Sumatra, Indonesia. This is the last place on Earth where elephants, tigers, orangutans and rhinos live side by side. We invited supporters to make a dedication to a loved one and, in return, we donated to Canopy to help them protect the Leuser Ecosystem and endangered forests around the world.
In 2021, our travelling exhibit “Future of Fashion: An innovation conversation with Stella McCartney” represented the fashion industry at COP26. At this global platform, we showcased the limitless possibilities of material innovation, spotlighting plant-based fibres like our forest-friendly viscose and regenerative cotton, Bolt Threads’ Mylo™️ mycelium-based animal leather alternative –, as well as regenerated materials crafted from waste.