Momentum continues as producer assessed for raw material sourcing risk
Hangzhou, China and Vancouver, Canada. November 29 2018
Today, environmental not-for-profit Canopy and viscose producer Zhejiang Fulida Holding Co. released the independent verification audit results of Fulida’s raw material sourcing. By releasing the findings publicly, Fulida is near the forefront of viscose producers in China, taking on a leadership role in the process to eliminate Ancient and Endangered Forest fibre from the viscose supply chain.
The audit was conducted by Rainforest Alliance’s Certification Division (RA-Cert) prior to the division’s recent acquisition by NEPCon.
The audit was unable to determine an overall result of low risk of sourcing wood from Ancient and Endangered Forests, due to proximity to Ancient and Endangered Forests, as well as incomplete information from some of Fulida’s suppliers on the forests of origin of raw materials. Fulida has, however, been proactively contacting suppliers for specific sourcing information to provide greater clarity on risk potential.
Fulida relies on a variety of suppliers, with 60-70% of pulp imported from the US, Canada and Brazil from suppliers such as Fortress Paper, Cosmo and Jari, while the remaining 30-40% is purchased from domestic pulp mills in China, such as Huatai and Juntai. The audit documented the presence in Fulida’s warehouse of pulp from a Vancouver Island, Canada mill that is not currently operational, but is in close proximity to threatened forest ecosystems.
Overall, the audit shines a light on the complexity of identifying the forest of origin of the wood pulp supply chain. More information is required from Zhejiang Fulida’s dissolving pulp suppliers and the company is actively working to overcome this gap and improve transparency of its raw material sourcing.
An additional key finding of the audit is that the Fulida Group as a whole not only supplies brands with the viscose it produces itself, but also from supply acquired from other viscose manufacturers. Only the portion of Fulida’s supply chain that is self-produced has been assessed for risk in this audit.
“Canopy welcomes the efforts made by Fulida to contribute to ending the use of endangered forests in fabrics,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “The fact that the company is already taking steps to address potential risks and gaps in their supply chain information, and is seeking further transparency about the forest of origin of all of their suppliers is welcomed progress as they advance on the path to fulfill their CanopyStyle commitments. We look forward to a time when their supply chain is verified free from Ancient and Endangered Forests.”
“These audit findings are of immense value, offering us an opportunity to learn about the impact of our supply on global forests, highlighting areas where we shine as well as areas where we can make improvements to become a more responsible business,” said Mr. Wu Wei, of Zhajiang Fulida. “It is our hope that all of our peers in the viscose manufacturing sector will undertake a similar audit assessment, and make concrete efforts to reduce risk in their supply chains. We are eager for increased collaboration between dissolving pulp suppliers in this regard.”
Key findings of Fulida’s audit include:
- Many of the company’s suppliers are sourcing from geographic areas that are in proximity to, or within, Ancient and Endangered Forests. Fulida is now taking steps to identify and assess the forest of origin of this fibre;
- Fulida’s suppliers need to acquire the certification necessary to trace fiber to ensure avoidance of controversial sources;
- Materials from the suppliers noted above cannot be verified as low risk, and still require the mills to confirm sourcing is not from Ancient and Endangered forests;
- One supplier in Brazil – Jari Cellulose – cannot be considered low risk due to evidence of possible controversial activities within Grupo Jari;
- There are still gaps between the company’s commitment to the CanopyStyle policy and actual sourcing practices;
- The organization gives preference to FSC certification in its policy, and is encouraged to adopt a concrete action plan to increase FSC intake.
Moving forward, the audit report suggests, Fulida could improve their annual audit results by:
- Collecting detailed forest of origin information from its dissolving pulp suppliers;
- Sharing such forest of origin and certification information with its customers to help track and trace the fiber
- Increasing the amount of raw material from FSC certified forests;
- Investing in research into the use of alternative fibres, such as recycled clothing and agricultural residues.
The CanopyStyle audit uses a risk-based approach and requires verifiable evidence that wood and pulp used by Fulida to produce fabric and fibers (such as viscose and rayon) fulfill a robust verification framework and audit process that was developed by Canopy in partnership with auditor Rainforest Alliance (now NEPCon).
The public reports from audit evaluations of Fulida’s operations are available for download here:
For more Information:
Mr. Wu Wei
About Zhejiang Fulida
The Zhejiang Fulida Holding Co, Ltd, established in 2004 in Hangzhou, China, is a subsidiary of the Fulida Group