It’s a busy time as Climate Week activities swing into high gear, not coincidentally, at the same time that the United Nations General Assembly is getting underway in New York. These parallel events are focal points for many of us interested in and committed to advancing positive change in the world. The topics on the table include some of the most pressing ever grappled with by world leaders – a global pandemic, rising authoritarianism, catastrophic climate change and a collapse in biodiversity. This year, more than ever, is one for bold leadership, strong outcomes and audacious creativity.
In this turn-around decade for our planet, I am encouraged by the myriad of ways that we are all striving to achieve change for our climate and the species that we share this planet with. Be it youth-led marches in the street and land protectors in the forests, corporations implementing policies to stop sourcing from the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests, or world governments negotiating high-level agreements to protect biodiversity and the climate – there is a palpable surge in the collective energy striving to create the necessary solutions.
Canopy’s forte is to work with the largest customers of the forest industry and their suppliers to strengthen both production and purchasing policies for the benefit of our climate, biodiversity and frontline communities. Our overarching goal is to protect the planet’s most endangered forests, and I’m proud of the gains we’ve made together, and confident that we’ll continue to achieve breakthroughs in the years to come.
Almost all of the corporate leaders I speak with as part of Canopy’s work recognize the need for urgent change – and the imperative to pick up the pace. To do so requires us to challenge ourselves to bolder actions, to stretch ourselves to explore innovative strategies, and contribute our expertise wherever it can be useful.
For Canopy that includes joining a United Nations Working Group that aims to translate high level UN climate goals into transformative action within the fashion industry to stop climate change. In formally signing on as a Supporting Organization of the United Nations Fashion Charter on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Canopy is joining the likes of the Nike, Stella McCartney, the British Fashion Council, Burberry, Chanel, H&M, Sustainable Fashion Academy, and Inditex/Zara in grappling with the critical area of raw materials, their impacts on our climate and intact forest landscapes, and sustainable pathways forward.
Approached to join in August, we are excited to tap our deep supply chain expertise, knowledge of Next Generation Solutions, and passion for conservation of the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests to advance our shared mission. Over the coming months we will work alongside other members on an UNFCCC report that scans low-carbon raw material options for fashion, with an eye to the fact that forests are identified as one-third of the climate solution, if intact forests are conserved and priority degraded high-carbon landscapes restored.
The United Nations brings together a broad range of stakeholders aimed at reaching consensus. There’s no denying that this can be challenging at times, but Canopy’s experience with CanopyStyle and our work with transforming the publishing supply chains shows us that collective action can be a powerful force when stakeholders are committed to driving ambitious change. Canopy will provide input based on the best-available scientific evidence of what’s needed to halt catastrophic climate change and species decline. That includes, but won’t be limited to, providing advice on what constitutes sustainable purchasing; highlighting the innovative new technologies that could already be utilized to mitigate pressure on endangered forests; and emphasizing the role of both business and governments in scaling these Next Generation Solutions to maximum impact.
Simultaneously, Canopy will continue our high-impact work with our brand partners in the marketplace, and with the local communities and indigenous people who live in, care for, and protect the world’s Landscapes of Hope – including the tropical rainforests of Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, the coastal temperate rainforests of British Columbia, and the Cree Nation’s traditional territories in Canada’s Boreal forests.
Like many of you, we’re restless for change this Climate Week and using all of our energy to encourage and inspire leadership and action, wherever we see the potential arise.