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Canopy Receives $60M in Funding Toward Protecting Critical Forests

Efforts to protect the world’s ancient and endangered forests became $60 million richer Monday.

Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit and past partner of brands like LVMH, H&M and Ikea, will receive $60 million in funding to advance low-carbon and circular supply chain solutions, it said. The funding comes from The Audacious Project, a collaborative funding initiative housed at TED, the nonprofit behind TED Talks.

“Innovative low-carbon solutions, such as regenerated cellulosic fibers from waste textiles or agricultural residues, are showing the potential to reduce our impact on climate and protect forests, so no ancient and endangered forests are put at risk to make fashion,” Leyla Ertur, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a statement. “Together with Canopy and other industry leaders, we want to use our size and scale to continue driving demand for low-carbon material solutions while building scalability faster.”

Canopy described the funding influx as a “massive capacity boost” that will accelerate the commercial-scale production of low-impact and circular clothing, paper and packaging solutions that don’t rely on pulp from “Ancient and Endangered Forests.” These solutions are derived from what is usually landfilled or burned, including waste textile, waste food scraps and agricultural residues, to create new fabrics, paper, pulp and packaging. These “Next Gen” alternatives produce on average 95 percent to 130 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, 88 percent to 100 percent less land use impacts and five times less impact on biodiversity, Canopy claimed.

By 2033, the not-for-profit plans to “unlock” more than 60 million metric tons of low-carbon Next Gen fiber production, avoid more than 1.3 billion metric tons of emissions, divert nearly 800 million metric tons of agricultural residue and waste textiles from being burned or landfilled and completely eliminate the use of Ancient and Endangered Forests in the paper, packaging and fashion viscose supply chains.

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Ancient and Endangered Forests, which Canopy says is a term defined by “leading” conservation and biodiversity scientists and environmental non-governmental organizations, includes forests of at least 50,000 hectares in size where industrial logging hasn’t taken place, rare forest types, forests with high numbers of plant and animal species, forests with high concentrations of rare and endangered species, forests with species which can only be found in very specific regions, forests with key focal species, forests with rare ecological and evolutionary phenomena and forests with high carbon stocks.

“We are very proud to be included in this year’s group of Audacious grantees and believe that Canopy’s creative, collaborative and transformative work will be key in driving supply chain change at scale and, in turn, provide a reprieve to critical forests that are under current and future threats, within the next decade and beyond,” Canopy’s founder and executive director, Nicole Rycroft, said in a statement.