The Clothes You’re Wearing Right Now Could Be Killing the Rainforest
It's no secret that fashion is a wasteful industry. There are commonly talked about problems like excess production ending up in landfills or toxic dyes polluting ocean water, but those two things just scratch the surface of these unsustainable practices. For example, did you know that very commonly used cellulose-based materials like rayon and viscose are sourced from endangered rainforests? These materials are found in all different types of clothing and are often obtained through illegal tree logging, contributing to crucial deforestation issues that are leading to climate change.
This week, however, 45 fashion brands have decided to make a real commitment to do better. In honor of World Rainforest Day on June 22, Ralph Lauren, Nanushka, Ted Baker, and several others announced that they will be working with Canopy, a company with a mission to change the rainforest supply chain. Those who have signed on will now transition into using sustainably sourced, recycled, or innovative materials instead.
Nanushka explained its decision to join the campaign on its website, writing, "We’re committed to protecting the world’s forests through the responsible sourcing of cellulose-based materials such as paper, packaging, and fibers. We’ve partnered with Canopy, an NGO dedicated to developing innovative business ideas to save forests and ecosystems."
The brand added that it will also fight illegal tree logging. ensuring all of its packaging is sourced from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system.
Right now, according to Canopy, "more than 150 million trees are cut down each year to produce popular textiles like rayon and viscose." Reducing the use of these materials is an important step in preserving the biodiversity of the rainforest, which in turn will help combat everything from global warming to future pandemics.
Cleaning up the messy supply chain, from the material sourcing to the manufacturing floor, is one of the biggest hurdles in fixing the fashion industry as a whole. Even though it might be more difficult, when brands make commitments to work with certifiers through every step of the process, it ensures that the money used to purchase clothes is not contributing to the world in a negative way.