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World’s Largest Rayon Producer Announces Endangered Forest Conservation Policy

India-based Aditya Birla, the world’s largest producer of rayon, announced Thursday its new policy to end any sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests for any of its viscose fibers, unless meaningful conservation plans are in place. Viscose is used extensively in clothing and textiles.

“We’re committed to avoiding any endangered forest fiber in our products and are excited to help drive innovation in the development of fabrics made from new fibers that reduce the pressure on the world’s natural forests,” Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, said. “We and many of our customers in the fashion industry are equally committed to developing sustainable business solutions that help conserve forests and species.”

The company manufactures 20 percent of the world’s viscose supply, which is made from wood pulp. This commitment, put in place immediately, applies to wood and pulp sourcing across all of its mills including those located in Canada, Indonesia and China.

Aditya Birla worked with Canadian environmental group, Canopy, to create the policy, offering hope for areas like the Boreal Forest in Canada and Indonesia’s tropical forest.

With this move, the company joins several major fashion brands including, H&M, Zara/Inditex, Levi Strauss & Co, Marks & Spencer and Stella McCartney, that have also developed similar commitments with Canopy within the past 18-months.

“Aditya Birla’s global forest sourcing criteria sets a high bar for all other producers to meet,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s founder and executive director. “We’re very excited to continue our collaborative work with the Aditya Birla team as we help them translate this bold policy into action.”

The company said it is committed to exploring research opportunities to find alternative fiber sources and develop new technologies that could reduce environmental impact. It will also work to support existing conservation solutions and further new initiatives toward advancing sustainable sourcing and forest protection.