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Environmental Orgs Develop Eco-friendly Bamboo Fiber

EcoPlanet Bamboo, a global developer of commercial bamboo plantations, has partnered with not-for-profit environmental organization Canopy to develop more sustainable bamboo pulping methods as a sourcing option for apparel brands looking to avoid using ancient and endangered forest fibers.

Seventy to one hundred million trees are felled every year to produce textiles, with approximately 30 percent originating from ancient and endangered forests.

EcoPlanet Bamboo CEO and co-founder Troy Wiseman, said, “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.”

Existing pulping practices are chemically intensive and inefficient, wasting about 70 percent of the tree, but bamboo can be grown sustainably. Canopy and EcoPlanet Bamboo’s policy agreement strengthens the understanding that bamboo should never be industrialized under the context of conversion of natural forest ecosystems to bamboo plantations.

A recent Kimberly Clark Life Cycle Analysis verified that bamboo grown on degraded agricultural and forest lands managed under Forest Stewardship Council criteria can have a lower ecological imprint than fibers from the Boreal forests.

“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,” Canopy executive director Nicole Rycroft said.

Canopy’s traditional focus has been on working with pulp and paper producers, but the organization has been expanding its network of customers over the past year. Through the Fashion Loved by Forest initiative, which was developed by the organization to rid rayon and viscose clothing of all traces of ancient and endangered forests, Canopy is now working with clothing brands and designers to accomplish this mission. It is also working to determine the potential of bamboo and other fibers as more sustainable alternatives. Fashion brands including Stella McCartney, H&M and Quiksilver are among many brands working with the Fashion Loved by Forest initiative.

“EcoPlanet Bamboo’s fibre, combined with advances in more sustainable manufacturing technology, may provide companies with one of the solutions needed to diversify the fibre basket and ensure healthy forests into the future,” Canopy noted in a statement.