20+ Years of Impact, and We’re Just Getting Started

A conversation with Tamara Stark, Canopy’s Campaign Director, on why it’s critical Canopy expands its impact to protect the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests.

As the Campaign Director at Canopy, I am privileged to oversee our campaign work, including transforming supply chains to protect the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests. Ancient and Endangered Forests are the areas of intact forests remaining in the world that are bastions of biodiversity, and vital carbon storehouses that we’re working tirelessly to preserve and protect, in line with the global goal of protecting and restoring 30% of the world’s forests by 2030, and 50% by 2050.  

Canopy’s Impact

When I think of Canopy’s impact, I’m reminded of where we came from to where we are today. More than 20 years ago — in 1999 — we set out to change how industries source their raw materials in order to make them less dependent on the world’s forests. 

We first approached the book publishing industry to reform their printing practices and to consistently print on eco-papers. In 2001, Alice Munro literally stopped the presses to have her latest book printed on 100% recycled paper. Soon, more authors and publishers followed suit, including J.K. Rowling and, in a few short years, we were able to make the Harry Potter books the greenest book series in the world. This was followed by many magazines and newspapers adopting sourcing policies that help protect more forests. 

Fast forward to today; it’s incredible to see how much we’ve grown and the impact our partnerships have had. More than 800 major brands have partnered with us in initiatives like Pack4Good and CanopyStyle, and have embraced Next Generation Solutions that reduce pressure on the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests. And we’re just getting started! 

Throughout it all, our team has maintained a cohesive mentality about our goals and how we work together. We are trusted advisors to our brand partners and we help them address the challenges they face. COVID was hard on everyone and at the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to our partners to ensure they were still able to pursue our mutual goals, in spite of supply chain concerns. We were so pleased they were continuing to prioritize their sustainability work. 

The pandemic has also reminded many of us of the connection between zoonotic diseases and  breaking the barriers of the natural world — and the animal world, in particular. The degradation of ecosystems and intact forests has exacerbated the spread of diseases like the Coronavirus and, in order for all of us to thrive, it’s critical we keep forests healthy and intact.

What’s Ahead

As we look to the future, we’re seeing the uptake of NextGen Solutions is now growing rapidly. We’re starting to see an increase in capital to fund NextGen Solutions, which will both reduce waste and take pressure off  forests. Brands are investing more in this area, and so is Canopy. NextGen Solutions will soon be a dominant force in production of materials like viscose and packaging. 

We’re also working very hard to elevate our campaigns and approach to protect intact endangered ecosystems through our Landscapes of Hope work. We’re exploring opportunities to conserve a larger number of vital landscapes by developing new partnerships and enlisting more of our brand partners and investors to help. We’re currently working with a wide array of partners, including Indigenous and traditional communities, in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, North America’s Boreal Forest and the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada, among others. We’re  starting to expand and accelerate efforts to elevate this work in Southeast Asia, the Amazon and elsewhere.

As a final thought, I want to encourage you to get out into a forest. Take time to experience the natural world and feel its restorative energy. It’s always useful to reconnect with what we’re working to protect. And then reach out to brands you support and encourage them to consider alternative supply chains, if they aren’t already. 

To each of you who are part of Canopy’s work, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Everything we’re able to do is possible because of your support and involvement. We are living in an extraordinary age where we have limited time to protect the planet and preserve its rich tapestry of species. We’re truly grateful for your friendship.