20160831 - Canopy Fashion

What You’re Wearing Can Help Sustain our Forests

How Canopy and 65 + Fashion Leaders Are Designing New Solutions

Did you know that more than 120 million trees are harvested every year to make fabric?  Canopy, EarthColor’s longtime environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO) partner, is working to change that.  Nearly three years ago, they approached several thought leaders in the fashion sector with a call to action: create sustainability in the fabric supply chain and on fashion runways.  Retailers Levi Strauss & Co., H&M, and Marks & Spencer, as well as innovative brand designers Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher, and manufacturers Patagonia and Artizia were among the first to respond.  Today, more than 65 major brands, with annual sales exceeding $85 billion USD, and approximately ten rayon and viscose producers representing 65% of global production have joined the CanopyStyle Initiative.

Together, they’re addressing the hidden environmental cost of fashion. Changing where and how pulp fiber is sourced, developing sustainable chain-of-custody policies, and creating innovative alternatives.  Some of the results of the CanopyStyle campaign include:

  • Eliminating sources of pulp from endangered forests or threatened ecosystems, such as Canada’s Vancouver Island Rainforest and Broadback Boreal Forest, and Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem;
  • Creating fabric made from agricultural residues like straw or non-wood sources, such as hemp, flax and cotton linters;
  • Exploring the use of other cellulose sources. For example, EcoPlanet Bamboo is working on fiber made from bamboo grown on degraded land. G-Star is using recycled cotton and wool as well as plastic recycled from the ocean for its clothing line.
  • Recycling used clothing is also trending. In the U.S. alone, 12.8 million tons of textiles and clothing are discarded into landfill each year.  Major retailers like H&M, Levi and Patagonia have inaugurated in-store recycling programs and are developing fashion lines made with recycled clothing content.  Marks & Spencer is working with Worn Again to convert used fiber into yarn, textiles and new clothing.

A conversation centered on sustainable design and fashion was part of a sustainable lifestyle program at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2016 held in New York City on June 22-23. Canopy Founder and Executive Director Nicole Rycroft introduced the CanopyStyle campaign, and sustainable fashion brands Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher highlighted how they have successfully integrated sustainability into their production. Students from Parson School of Design and the Copenhagen Fashion Summit topped off the presentations with sustainable materials and innovative fashions.  To learn more about Canopy’s work with green-minded fashion leaders and download a copy of their latest report.

The details of EarthColor’s work with Canopy and other ENGOs are highlighted in our award winning 2015-2016 Sustainability Report.  If you’re interested in receiving a copy, please fill out the form here.

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