At COP27, a number of fashion companies took to new fiber sourcing commitments on Monday.
For starters, H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney and Kering announced a joint commitment to purchase more than half a million tonnes of low-carbon fiber alternatives for fashion. The latest initiative is led by environmental nonprofit Canopy (with CanopyStyle as its flagship viscose sourcing program).
“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,” Canopy founder and executive director Nicole Rycroft said in a press statement. “This commitment will allow us to take a historic leap closer to the $64 billion of investments in sustainable alternatives needed to ensure forest conservation for our planet’s climate and biodiversity stability.”
What this amounts to is direct infrastructure investment for next-generation fibers (the construction of more than a dozen pulp mills for producing next-generation fibers, or those that replace the exhaustive resource use of virgin raw materials with recycled or otherwise improved inputs, like agricultural waste). Some textiles made from textile waste include Infinna fiber, of which Patagonia is already an investor and a $420 million mill is already in the works, or Lenzing’s Refibra.
By Canopy’s estimates, this commitment will save local communities where mills operate 2.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to conventional production. As it stands, the brand partners already committed to stop sourcing from ancient and endangered forests, defined as those that are at high risk of depletion.
Madelene Ericsson, environmental sustainability business expert at H&M Group, said: “Innovative low-carbon solutions, such as regenerated cellulosic fibers from waste textiles, microbial cellulose or agricultural residues, will play a vital role to help us reduce our impact on climate and protect forests, so no ancient and endangered forests are put at risk to make fashion. These next generation solutions and collaborations like Canopy’s help us taking strong steps toward our goal for all our materials to be either recycled or sourced in a more sustainable way by 2030.” (As of last year, 17.9 percent of H&M’s garments were made with recycled content toward a goal of having that number reach 30 percent by 2025.)
Kering’s Yoann Régent, head of sustainable sourcing and nature initiatives also expressed excitement to continue a “longtime” partnership with Canopy to support the scale-up of sustainable materials. Kering, for one, aims to ensure half of all consumer-facing plastic packaging is made with 100-percent recycled content by 2025. The group has also committed to using only certified and recyclable materials in its supply chain operations.
Stella McCartney also offered the following statement on the news: “We are collaborating with Canopy to accelerate the development and adoption of Next Generation Solutions within supply chains rooted in forests. I am proud to say we have been partnering with Canopy since 2014 and have been a zero-deforestation brand since 2017 — never sourcing from ancient, endangered or protected forests. We must take action today in order to protect our forests for tomorrow.”