Six international brands and retailers including Tesco, Esprit, KappAhl and New Look have joined a commitment to stop sourcing the raw material for their viscose and rayon textiles from ancient and endangered forests.

The companies, who also include Canadian retailer Simons and LA-based sustainable luxury brand Sage Larock, bring to 65 the total number of fashion brands, designers and retailers that have joined the Canopy pledge. 

The policies the brands commit to as part of the pledge include eliminating sourcing from threatened forest ecosystems, high-carbon rainforests, and socially controversial sources in the production of their viscose and rayon textiles.

"Today's leaders clearly show that sourcing from endangered forests is no longer fashionable," said Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of Canopy. "Thanks to the forest commitments of more than 65 fashion brands, we are seeing dramatic shifts in the rayon supply chain. We look forward to bringing this momentum into our work with viscose producers in China, where in late May we continue a series of negotiations and will present at their association conference."

Audits verifying the status of policy implementation by viscose/rayon producers are expected over the coming months. Canopy said it looks forward to analysing the results of the audits along with rayon producers' progress on forest conservation efforts and use of alternative fibres. 

The use of recycled clothing and/or non-wood fibres as feedstock for fabric production instead of trees is a critical element of the CanopyStyle initiative, systemically alleviating the stress of forest ecosystems and contributing to a circular economy. Another key component is leadership to help secure conservation of key ancient and endangered forests like the Broadback Forest in Canada's Boreal forest, Vancouver Island's Rainforests and Indonesia's Leuser Ecosystem.

Luis Gonzaga, senior vice president and head of global supply for Esprit, said of its commitment: "For over 20 years Esprit has paid special attention to the social and environmental impacts of apparel manufacturing, pioneering the use of organic cotton, and launching green business practices long before it became standard. This partnership with Canopy, and our pledge to end the use of endangered forest fibres is an exciting new initiative for Esprit, and one we are excited to be a part of."