Ralph Laurens pledge aims to eliminate sources connected to the destruction of the rainforest

Ralph Lauren's pledge aims to eliminate sources connected to the destruction of the rainforest

US apparel giant Ralph Lauren has made a commitment to stop sourcing the raw material for its viscose and rayon textiles from ancient and endangered forests.

As part of a new policy on the use of wood-based fabrics, the company says it is committed to tracing the source of such fabrics in an effort to eliminate those connected to the destruction of the rainforest and the violation of human rights. This will encompass Ralph Lauren's entire operations and comes as the company continues to work on its framework for tracking, assessing and developing purchasing guidelines for the raw materials used in its products.

"In 2017, Ralph Lauren intends to publish and implement our new sourcing guidelines on wood based fabrics as part of a broader initiative to establish a traceability, risk assessment and verification framework for the raw materials that we use," says Halide Alagoz, Ralph Lauren's senior vice president of global manufacturing and sourcing.

"We've already communicated our commitment to our vendors. We believe this initiative demonstrates Ralph Lauren's commitment to the environment with responsible and traceable sourcing, which we believe will create a positive impact on ecosystems and global communities."

The company's pledge on wood-based fabrics has been developed in cooperation with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), whose 'Out of Fashion' campaign aims to bring attention to the risks controversial wood-based fabrics pose to endangered forests and human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Ralph Lauren joins brands including H&M, Zara, Stella McCartney, ASOS, and Levis Strauss & Co in adopting forest-friendly purchasing policies.

"Rainforests are more valuable left standing than being converted to pulp plantations for fabric," says Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). "It's heartening to see brands beginning to take responsibility for their supply chains. Ralph Lauren's commitments and actions, along with those of more than 60 other brands who have developed policies, can have a real positive impact for forests and the people that depend on them."

RAN is now calling on other brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Kors, Guess, Forever 21, Under Armour and Footlocker to also develop "robust" purchasing policies, research their supply chains, identify and eliminate controversial sources, and implement time bound plans to ensure loss of forests and violations of human rights are not in their supply chains.