CanopyStyle Next Generation Vision for Viscose

CanopyStyle Next Generation Vision for Viscose

Next Generation Solutions are the designs, systems and technologies that will enable us to achieve the goal of “Nature Needs Half”¹. These solutions offer radical reduction in the use of raw resources, optimal efficiency of materials use and product reuse. Next Generation Solutions are a path to resolution of the climate and biodiversity crises. For business they also present a way to ensure security in supply of materials.

Because over 25 million tonnes of cotton and viscose textile waste² is generated around the world every year, and technologies now exist to generate nearly one tonne of man- made cellulosic fibre, (includes viscose, rayon, lyocell and other trademarked brands, hereafter referred to as viscose), from one tonne of recycled cotton, the opportunity to shift to circular production³ has arrived. All 6.5 million tonnes of viscose being produced this year could be made using only 25% of the world’s wasted and discarded cotton and viscose fabrics, thereby saving forests, reducing municipal and industrial waste to landfills, and reducing carbon emissions, energy and water use. This is without accounting for other streams of textile wastes with reusable cellulose, such as linen.

Given the commitment to eliminate all Ancient and Endangered Forests from viscose and the benefits, the opportunity and the urgent need for conservation:

  • All new viscose production capacity and/or mill expansions should be located in proximity to, and tailored for, the processing of Next Generation feedstocks4, such as recycled textiles, agricultural residues5, or microbial cellulose.
  • By the end of 2021, the collective goal is to see 20%6 of all viscose using Next Generation feedstock content.
  • By the end of 2025, there will be enough innovative Next Generation fibre produced to replace at least 90% of viscose production volumes currently coming from Ancient and Endangered Forests.
  • In 2030, our vision is to see 50% of all viscose made from Next Generation feedstocks.

Next Generation fibres are not considered sustainable or acceptable if mixed with Ancient and Endangered Forest or controversial fibres.

We recognize that the longevity of fibres, fabrics, apparel, and textiles is a critical factor for designing products that last. The service and second-hand economies will play an increasingly important role moving forward.

This is our vision for Next Generation Solutions on viscose.

Read the Next Generation Vision in Chinese. CanopyStyle Next Generation Vision Statement Mandarin


¹ E. Dinerstein, C. Vynne, E. Sala, A. R. Joshi, S. Fernando, T. E. Lovejoy, J. Mayorga, D. Olson, G. P. Asner, J. E. M. Baillie, N. D. Burgess, K. Burkart, R. F. Noss, Y. P. Zhang, A. Baccini, T. Birch, N. Hahn, L. N. Joppa, E. Wikramanayake, A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets. Sci. Adv. 5, eaaw2869 (2019).

² Global Fashion Agenda and The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. (2017), Pulse of the Fashion Industry calculates there is 92 million tons textile waste globally each year. This is equal to 83.5 million when converted to tonnes. From data sources ICAC, CIFRS, The Fiber Year and The Fiber Organon, Lenzing estimates that global production of cellulosic fibers consist of 25% of cotton and 6% of wood-based cellulose fibres. We assume that cotton and wood-based cellulose fibre waste reflects relative percentages of production and therefore there is 25.8 million tonnes of cotton (20.8 million tonnes) and wood-based cellulose textile waste (5.0 million tonnes) annually. Production of dissolving pulp was 6.5 million tonnes in 2018. New technology is able to convert 1 tonne of waste cellulosic textile to 1 tonne of dissolving pulp. Therefore, utilizing one quarter of each of these materials (i.e. 5.2 million tonnes of waste cotton and 1.25 million tonnes of wood-based cellulose waste) as a recycled dissolving pulp feedstock, could produce 6.45 million tons of recycled dissolving pulp.

³ Full circularity for these fabrics and fibres would cover the following aspects 1) Incorporate existing waste content into materials as a foundational step to eliminating virgin inputs. 2) Technology is available and accessible to regenerate fibre back into feedstock for industry at end of use-life and fibre can be identified in commercial systems. 3) Hazardous chemicals out of textile products and processes and promote safer alternatives. 4) Zero discharge from facilities. 5) Using energy that has zero greenhouse gas emissions. October, 2019 Presentation at Textile Exchange by Annie Gullingsrud, of Fashion+.

4 Next Generation Feedstocks are lower impact innovative fibres that reduce pressure on our world’s forests without creating other significant environmental or social issues. The following LCA is a useful guide to considerations of man-made cellulosic feedstocks: manmade-cellulose-fiber

5 Agricultural Residues are residues left over from food production or other processes and using them maximizes the lifecycle of the fibre. Depending on how they are harvested, fibres for fabrics may include flax, soy, bagasse, and hemp. (Agricultural residues are not from on-purpose crops that replace forest stands or food crops.)

6 20% = 1.38 million tons (just a little bit less than SAPPI’s current dissolving pulp production of 1.4 million tons by 3 mills – reference: wood-pulp-mills)