H&M, Inditex Among Brands Committing to Sourcing Alternative Fibres

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by KnowESG

H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney and Kering are among a raft of companies to commit to a new Canopy-led initiative to purchase over 500m tonnes of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibres for the fashion textiles and paper packaging industries.

Signed at this week’s COP27 summit in Sharm El Sheik, and spearheaded by environmental non-profit Canopy, the commitment towards more sustainable, lower-carbon alternative fibres – known as Next Generation Solutions – reflects a building urgency across industries to accelerate the transition to nature-positive business models.

Canopy says that the market pull is necessary to get the investments needed to scale up these game-changing Next Generation alternative fibres in a way that is good for the environment. It will help protect the world's important forests and ecosystems and reduce the amount of damage to forests caused by the fashion and packaging supply chains.

“We are thrilled to advance this commitment with forward-looking partners who are willing to challenge the status quo and in doing so provide a breakthrough for these game-changing technologies,” said Canopy founder and executive director, Nicole Rycroft. "This commitment will bring us one giant step closer to the US$64bn in investments in sustainable alternatives that are needed to protect forests for the climate and biodiversity stability of our planet."

At last year’s UN Climate Change Conference, protecting nature was at the centre of commitments to deliver on global climate targets. Today one-third of the world’s most influential companies have yet to make forest conservation commitments, Canopy says, despite the scientific community’s warnings that at least 50% of the world’s forests need to be conserved or restored by 2030 to ensure global temperature rises stay below 1.5 °C.

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Figures from Canopy show that every year, over 3.2 billion trees are cut down to produce fibre for packaging and clothing, releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Wood fibre alternatives – such as agricultural residues and recycled textiles – are readily available and can be scaled. Moving to Next Generation Solutions could help avoid almost 1Gt of CO2 emissions between now and 2030, it says.

"At H&M Group, we are committed to becoming a circular business, which means that we need to find more environmentally friendly ways to use our materials. Canopy has shown true leadership by bringing the fashion and regenerated cellulosic industries together to reduce fashion’s dependency on forests,” said Madelene Ericsson, environmental sustainability business expert at H&M.

The signatories have also committed to ensuring their respective supply chains are free of Ancient and Endangered Forests and are calling on industry peers to follow suit by shifting towards sustainable Next Generation alternative fibres such as ones made from agricultural residue or recycled textiles.

When compared to forest fibres, Next-Generation Solutions have on average: 95% to 130% less CO2 emissions, 18% to 70% less fossil energy resource depletion, 88% to 100% fewer land-use impacts, and at least 5x lower impact on biodiversity/threatened species.

Source: Just Style

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