52% of global viscose supply now verified as low risk - Just Style
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52% of global viscose supply now verified as low risk

By Beth Wright 30 Oct 2020

Not-for-profit environmental organisation Canopy says that more than 50% of global viscose supply is now verified as low risk of coming from ancient and endangered forests. 

Outlined in its ‘2020 Hot Button Report and Ranking’, the findings assess the performance of 31 viscose and rayon producers to help guide fibre sourcing in the fashion sector. 

The report shows audited and assessed ‘green shirt’ producers now account for 52% of global viscose production as more producers take action to remove the risk of sourcing from ancient and endangered forests and introduce innovative feed-stocks such as recycled clothing. This compares to 42.5% last year.

The report also shows that more than 90% of the entire viscose supply chain now has a publicly available CanopyStyle policy in place, and 72% of suppliers are voluntarily undergoing audits to confirm and address any risk of sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.

Eliminating such forests from the man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF) supply is a crucial first step in brands’ and producers’ CanopyStyle commitments.

Canopy’s partners have also committed to investigating, trialling, and scaling up next generation solutions such as using recycled, post-consumer textiles, agricultural residues and/or microbial cellulose to make the pulp that forms the basis of MMCF fabrics like rayon and viscose.

A third component of the CanopyStyle vision is translating supply chain shifts into lasting conservation in critical forests around the globe.

Canopy says this year’s report documents real progress by many producers in all three key impact/performance areas.

“It’s incredible to see how quickly the majority of viscose production has moved, and now we need the rest of the industry to keep pace,” says Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s executive director.

“In addition to many of the leaders reducing risk, we’re buoyed by the substantive advancements of next generation solutions, as well as conservation gains in key landscapes. This year’s Hot Button Ranking is good news for all sustainability-conscious brands, as well as for the world’s forests and climate.”

Hot Button highlights

The majority of the 320 brands in the CanopyStyle initiative – worth a combined US$578bn in revenue – are implementing commitments to only source from producers ranked with green shirts. This includes Inditex, Stella McCartney, Amazon, H&M, Levi’s, Target, Marks & Spencer, and Gap Inc.

Highlights of the 2020 Hot Button Ranking include:

  • Ten MMCF producers – Eastman, ENKA, Formosa, Jilin, Kelheim, Tangshan Sanyou, Xinxiang Chemical Fiber (Bailu) and Yibin Grace – have earned green shirt designations, with Birla Cellulose and Lenzing obtaining the first-ever ranking of dark green shirts.
  • 11 producers have offered support to conservation solutions. Aditya Birla has also invested in conservation planning in carbon-rich Boreal landscapes, agreeing to scenarios with Canopy that propose to conserve about 70% of key ancient and endangered forests.
  • Four of the top five largest producers with deep supply chain integration have invested significantly in advancing next generation solutions and are now selling viscose made from recycled textiles.
  • MMCF producers declared to be investing a combined sum of $233m in next generation research and development, and an intent to procure 274,000 tonnes of Next Generation Fibre Solutions.

This year’s Hot Button report also features new information on each producer’s performance in chemical management for the first time, with support from the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Foundation.
 
“Embedding chemical use and emissions criteria in Canopy’s Hot Button report adds value for all who want to understand concrete solutions in the viscose supply chain, and shows the value of collaborative partnership, with each party bringing and reinforcing each other’s expertise,” says Frank Michel, executive director, ZDHC Roadmap to Zero.

Click here to access the full report.