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EcoPlanet Bamboo Working with Canopy to Offer Sustainable Alternative to Forest-Fiber Textiles

Images credit: ilashdesigns/annieo76 (Flickr Creative Commons)

Canadian forest conservation nonprofit Canopy announced Wednesday that EcoPlanet Bamboo, the largest global developer of certified bamboo plantations on degraded lands, has committed to a sourcing policy designed to offer a more sustainable option for clothing brands seeking alternatives to ancient and endangered forest fibers.

This marks a shift for Canopy, which over the past year has expanded on its successful work with customers of the pulp and paper sectors. Through its Fashion Loved by Forest campaign, the NGO is now partnering with clothing brands and designers such as H&M, EILEEN FISHER, Patagonia, Zara and Stella McCartney to end the use of ancient and endangered forests in rayon and viscose textiles and assess the potential of bamboo and other fibers as low-impact alternatives. As verified by a recent Kimberly Clark Life Cycle Analysis, bamboo grown on degraded agricultural and forestlands that are managed under Forest Stewardship Council criteria can have a lower ecological impact than fiber from the Boreal forests.

Canopy's Nicole Rycroft
will discuss the
Fashion Loved by Forests
at SB '14 London

“We are excited about EcoPlanet Bamboo’s interest in innovation, and the opportunities for the clean manufacturing of sustainably grown bamboo as an alternative to rayon or viscose made from ancient and endangered forests,” said Canopy’s Executive Director, Nicole Rycroft.

Similar to any productive crop, bamboo can be grown sustainably or unsustainably. EcoPlanet Bamboo’s agreement with Canopy solidifies an understanding that bamboo should never be industrialized under the context of conversion of natural forest ecosystems to bamboo plantations.

“EcoPlanet Bamboo is committed to investing in the development of a new-generation pulping facility to address current issues along the supply chain, from feedstock sourcing through to the first stages of manufacturing,” said Troy Wiseman, CEO & co-founder of EcoPlanet Bamboo.

As dissolving pulp, whether from tree fiber or bamboo, is a chemically intensive and inefficient process, EcoPlanet Bamboo is also committed to research and development into technology that may provide a more efficient and cleaner alternative to existing pulping methods.

70 to 100 million trees are felled every year to produce textiles, with approximately 30 percent still originating from ancient and endangered forests. Canopy and its partners are committed to reducing the impact of the fashion and dissolving-pulp industries on the world’s threatened forests. Canopy says EcoPlanet Bamboo’s fiber, combined with advances in more sustainable manufacturing technology, may provide companies with one of the solutions needed to diversify the fiber basket and ensure healthy forests into the future.

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