ASOS, Levi Strauss, and Marks & Spencer are making like trees and leaving—deforestation, that is. The clothing brands are among the latest companies to connect with Canopy Style, a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate endangered-forest fibers from the garment supply chain. The announcement, made at an Innovation Forum event in London on Wednesday, promises to make the future of the world’s ecosystems shine “just a little bit brighter,” according to Nicole Rycroft, the group’s executive director.
“The largest and most iconic clothing brands on earth are sending clear signals that are growing in strength and conviction: no more ancient and endangered forest fibre in our fashions,” Rycroft says in a statement. “Systemic change in fibre sourcing is becoming unavoidable.”
In the year since Canopy Style launched its “Fashion Loved by Forest” initiative, more than 25 brands, retailers, and designers, including Eileen Fisher, H&M, Zara, Patagonia, and Stella McCartney, have pledged to address the origins of wood-based fabrics, advance long-term conservation strategies, and adopt wood-free fibers such as recycled fabrics or straw.
Most cellulosic textiles, such as rayon, viscose, modal, and lyocell, start their journey as trees, according to Rycroft. With demand for dissolving pulp projected to increase by 122 percent in the next 40 years, the viscose industry poses an increasing risk to endangered habitats around the world, she adds.
“Building on our long-standing commitment to sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co. is joining this effort to address the sustainable sourcing of forest-based fabrics,” says Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi’s. “We look forward to working with other apparel companies, as well as with our suppliers and Canopy, to increase transparency and traceability in our supply chain and ensure that the world’s ancient and endangered forests are not used to make our products.”