CBC: Waswanipi leader lobbies fashion companies to save boreal forest

October 29, 2016. Originally published in the CBC by Christopher Herodier and Jaime Little.

In the fight to save one of Northern Quebec’s last untouched boreal forests from logging, the Cree’s latest ally could be a group of fashion labels.

Mandy Gull, deputy chief of the 2,000-member Cree community of Waswanipi, spoke to a gathering of 81 clothing companies in New York City on Oct. 26 in an effort to convince them to stop sourcing materials such as rayon and viscose from endangered forests.

“I was asked to inform those companies how they could be buying products other than from a virgin forest, and how the impacts are felt by our people, the Waswanipi Cree, in our traditional lands,” said Gull.

Before becoming involved in the event, Gull said she didn’t know that wood pulp was used to make jeans and T-shirts. Now she says convincing companies and consumers to shop sustainably could help protect the land and wildlife around Waswanipi.

H&M, Zara, and Marks and Spencer are among the companies that have agreed to avoid buying materials from endangered forests, according to Canopy, a non-profit working to encourage sustainable forestry and organizer of this week’s event in NYC.

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