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Amazon Pledges to Rid Private-Label Brands of Forest-Harming Viscose

The world’s biggest online retailer has pledged to keep ancient and endangered forests from its clothing supply chain.

Amazon, whose quest for complete retail domination has resulted in a slew of private-label clothing lines, has linked arms with CanopyStyle, an initiative by Canadian forestry not-for-profit Canopy, to keep deforestation out of its own-brand viscose and other tree-derived textiles.

The e-tail Goliath joins more than 300 businesses, including Allbirds, Abercrombie & Fitch, Eileen Fisher, Esprit Guess, H&M, Patagonia, Stella McCartney and VF Corp., in pushing for more sustainable viscose sourcing.

More than 150 million trees are logged annually and pulped to produce viscose and other cellulosic fibers, according to Canopy. The number will only increase as demand for dissolving pulp is projected to balloon by 122 percent over the next 40 years, the organization said.

Amazon’s sustainability page on its website now declares that by 2022 none of the manmade cellulosic fibers sourced for Amazon-owned private-brand apparel products will be derived from “ancient and endangered forests, or from endangered species’ habitats or other controversial sources, as defined by the nonprofit organization Canopy’s tools and reports.”

“Our approach to cellulosics includes using fabrics that provide assurance on traceability and use best available processing technology, as well as supporting the use of innovative lower impact alternative fiber sources, such as recycled fiber from used clothing,” the Everything Store writes.

Amazon boasts some 60 private fashion lines, with products ranging from basics such as boxer briefs and T-shirts to more put-together options like sweater knits, boho-inspired dresses, men’s button-down shirts and five-pocket denim jeans.

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With its extensive reach, Canopy said in a statement, Amazon has the “potential to catalyze a major shift in the fashion and e-commerce industries as well as contribute significantly to global conservation efforts.”

Teams at both Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K., the organization said, will use CanopyStyle’s annual Hot Button Report to inform their procurement decisions. The internet juggernaut will also be supporting the scale up of “next-generation solutions” like recycled cotton that supply alternatives to virgin wood.

While Canopy’s partnership with Amazon is currently focused on viscose fabrics, the organization says it looks forward to expanding its partnership to address raw material sourcing for the e-tailer’s packaging and ensuring it’s “in-line with scientific imperatives for forest protection.”