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H&M and Stella McCartney among leading retailers to announce commitment to forest-friendly supply chains

Chloe Burney
14 November 2022

At today's COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, many leading companies and retailers have committed to purchasing 550,000 tonnes of sustainable alternative materials in order to protect endangered forests.

H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney, HH Global, and Kering are among the big-name retailers which announced a collective commitment to purchase over half a million tonnes of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibres for fashion textiles and paper packaging.

The commitment secured the investment needed to:

• Build 10-20 new low-footprint pulp mills
• Provide farm communities and cities with new markets to replace the burning of straw residue and textile landfilling
• Prevent an estimated 2.2 million tonnes of GHG emissions from going into the atmosphere

Canopy, an environmental non-profit organisation, will lead the commitment titled 'Next Generation Solutions’ to urge the fashion and retail industry to accelerate the transition to planet-friendly supply chains and business models.

Driving investment momentum is needed to scale projects to create the necessary impact. Moving to Next Generation Solutions could help avoid almost 1Gt of CO2 emissions between now and 2030.

In comparison 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% less land-use impacts
• At least 5x lower impact on biodiversity/threatened species

The UN Climate Change Conference, which took place last year, presented evidence to show 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.

Canopy’s Founder and Executive Director, Nicole Rycroft, commented: “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.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.”

Madelene Ericsson, Environmental Sustainability Business Expert H&M Group, added: "At H&M Group, we are committed to becoming a circular business, in which moving towards more sustainable alternatives for our materials is crucial. Canopy has showed true leadership by bringing the fashion and regenerated cellulosic industries together with the purpose of reducing fashion’s dependency on forests.

“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 towards our goal for all our materials to be either recycled or sourced in a more sustainable way by 2030."

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