Did a tree die for your yoga pants? If you’re a fan of asana-friendly cellulosics such as rayon, viscose, and modal, chances are high that someone logged an endangered forest so you could downward-dog in comfort. But some of the world’s leading apparel companies have decided to stump for the stumps. Eileen Fisher, Lululemon, Patagonia, Prana, and Quiksilver are among the brands that are partnering with forestry nonprofit Canopy to bolster protection of the world’s ancient ecosystems. Together with 14 progressive designers, including Auralis, Nicole Bridger, Prophetik, and Study NY, the companies have pledged to develop internal policies to eliminate the use of endangered-forest fibers, promote sustainable alternatives such as recycled viscose, and raise awareness of the link between fashion and deforestation.
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SPEAK FOR THE TREES
From the lush rainforests of Indonesia to the great northern boreal forests, 70 to 100 million trees are logged annually to produce pulp for fabric, according to Canopy’s research. Placed end to end, these trees would circle the earth’s equator at least seven times. Yet these same forests help stabilize the earth’s climate by absorbing 9 billion tons of global greenhouse gases every year.
Demand for dissolving pulp is projected to increase by 122 percent in the next 40 years.
The chemical-intensive practice of turning forests into fabric needs to be curtailed before it becomes entrenched, says Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s executive director. Demand for dissolving pulp is projected to increase by 122 percent in the next 40 years, creating a rapidly looming threat to the world’s endangered forests, as well as the communities and species that rely on them.
Still, hope remains. “Canopy is thrilled to be working with these conscientious leaders of the clothing industry,” Rycroft says. “Their actions are setting a new bar for sustainability within the sector and inspiring other large global players. That’s good news for the world’s forests, species and climate. And for those of us who love both fashion and our planet, we can finally wear our green heart on our sleeve.”
Not to mention stand in tree pose without irony.