Harvested plantation with rainforest in the background in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
Luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney has pledged to eliminate fabrics sourced via destruction of old-growth and endangered forests from its supply chain by April 2017.
The move, announced last week, follows similar commitments from H&M and Zara, which also joined the Fashion Loved by Forest initiative, a campaign run by Canopy, North American NGO.
The three companies “will trace their supply chains, increase transparency, eliminate fabric sources that contain endangered forest fibre and advance the conservation of priority threatened forest regions,” according to a release by Canopy, which added that the brands would shift toward fiber from certified plantations and fabrics made from recycled materials and agricultural waste.
Forest fiber ends up in clothing via cellulose fabrics like as rayon and modal. According to Canopy, about a third of the fiber used in those fabrics worldwide are sourced via conversion of “ancient and endangered forests” including boreal forests and Indonesian rainforests.
While the fashion industry’s role in driving deforestation in these regions may be small compared to the palm oil, paper, livestock, and timber industries, it nonetheless amounts to more than 25 million trees. And consumption is growing rapidly.
Accordingly, Stella McCartney’s decision was welcomed by Canopy Executive Director Nicole Rycroft.
“We are absolutely delighted Stella McCartney has decided to bring their considerable cachet and reputation for strong social responsibility to Canopy’s efforts to protect the world’s forests, species and climate,” said Rycroft in a statement. “The Fashion Loved by Forest initiative is gaining incredible momentum and we are excited to work closely with Stella McCartney and other brands on implementation efforts that will have a real impact in the world’s threatened forests and forest dependent communities.”