Canopy, a non-profit forest conservation organization, said Friday that the Japan-based parent company of Uniqlo has committed to stop using materials from ancient and endangered forests, in addition to advancing forest conservation solutions in areas including Broadback Forest in Canada.
Fast Retailing joins 150 other apparel brands that have already committed to CanopyStyle, an initiative that aims to protect the world’s forests, species and climate, and inspire industries to close the loop with eco-friendly material alternatives. The initiative, which recently set new targets for 2020, ensures that no endangered forests are used to produce rayon and viscose for garments, and that there is a stronger focus on producing innovative fabrics made with recycled fibers. Canopy said these solutions could minimize the apparel industry’s carbon footprint and help conserve natural resources worldwide.
“The addition of an ambitious and growing retail powerhouse like Fast Retailing will take this work to transform the viscose supply chain to the next level,” Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s executive director, said. “In this past year, we have seen a galvanization of brands from Europe, North America and now Asia step forward to tackle the critical issue of forest conservation and bring audaciously sustainable solutions to the marketplace and fashion lovers.”
Fast Retailing said it will take the steps to establish more eco-friendly sourcing practices in its Responsible Product Policy: Wood-based Products and Forest Materials.
The company divided its sustainability efforts into four key areas. First, it will assess its existing use of forest materials and eliminate sourcing forest materials from ancient forests and endangered species’ habitats. From there, Fast Retailing said it will stop sourcing from companies that are logging forests illegally and infringing on indigenous and local peoples’ rights. A third effort will involve the company working with its suppliers to implement more eco-friendly sourcing practices, including not obtaining materials from ancient or endangered forests. Finally, Fast Retailing said its commitments align with Canopy’s efforts and that it will continue to work with Canopy and its suppliers to step up forest conservation initiatives.
As far as its material sourcing commitments, Fast Retailing said from 2020 onward, it will only source man-made cellulosic materials that comply with universal forest conservation standards. Also by 2020, Fast Retailing wants to make its product supply chain 100 percent traceable and conduct audits to verify that forest material suppliers and viscose fiber producers are complying with its Responsible Product Policy on wood-based products. In the time to 2020, Fast Retailing said it plans to study the market availability of eco-friendly fiber innovations and set targets for the increased procurement of these sustainable alternatives for cellulosic fabrics.
“Ancient and endangered forests regulate our planet, providing clean air, fresh water, a stable climate and biodiversity,” Fast Retaining said in its Responsible Product Policy. “Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. and our brands, including Uniqlo, Theory, GU, PLST, Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princess tam.tam and J Brand, are committed to protecting the world’s forests through our approach to procurement of wood-based fabrics, materials derived from forests, and/or man-made cellulosic fabrics.”