Mission Possible: Transforming Supply Chains to Protect Forests and Climate

Telling your board and team that you’ve received a massive funding lift to supercharge our work to protect the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests is a fantastic feeling. I got to do just that earlier this year when we were selected as one of The Audacious Project cohorts and were the recipient of $60 million spread over the next 6.5 years. The added bonus – I would also get to stand on the TED stage in April to share our bold plan with the global TED community.

For Canopy, this surge in resourcing will mean that we can significantly boost our capacity to catalyse commercial-scale production of low-impact Next Gen alternatives for packaging, paper, and viscose textiles that are currently made from high-carbon and biodiverse forests. We will expand the geographic scope of our work, deepen partnerships and add new strategic areas to our campaigns as we spark catalytic change over the next decade to secure climate stability and sustainable, equitable supply chains.

The Forest’s Fragile Balance:

Keeping forests standing is the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to stabilize our climate. Forests are the lungs of the planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, mitigating the effects of climate change, providing habitat for countless species, regulating our water cycles, and contributing to the overall well-being of life on Earth.

Despite the irreplaceability of forests, every year over five billion trees are logged to make paper, paper packaging, and viscose textiles, many from the world’s most climate-critical forests. I started Canopy with the conviction that we are smarter than mowing down these beautiful and complex ecosystems to make t-shirts and pizza boxes. 

Over the past two decades, we’ve built collaborative partnerships with over 900 brands, innovators, and producers to transform supply chains that drive the degradation of vital forests and bring game-changing, low-impact Next Generation Solutions from the niches to the mainstream. Rather than cutting vibrant forests, Next Gen utilizes discarded clothing, and agricultural residues like straw and food waste as inputs. Next Gen fibres have 95% to 130% less GHG emissions, 88% to 100% less land-use impacts, and a five times lower impact on biodiversity and threatened species.

With fires raging across Europe and North America, it’s clear that we need to accelerate and scale our collective efforts. This is clearly an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ moment in time. Canopy is working with its brand partners to build strong market pull-through from influential industry leaders. This creates the value proposition for conventional producers to stop sourcing trees from Ancient and Endangered Forests, and to replace them with lower-carbon Next Gen alternatives that would otherwise be treated as waste — thereby closing the loop. We are working with a pipeline of game-changing Next Gen technologies to refine their technologies for market needs – as well as working to mobilize the $78 billion in investment that is required for this infrastructure transformation over the next decade. We do this work alongside leaders in business, technology, investment, and civil society. 

The Audacious process challenged us to dream bigger and plan better. It has tested our strategic assumptions as well as our data points and projections. We are emerging from it absolutely confident that the ambition of our goals and plans is achievable. 

We invite you to join us on this mission to bring Next Gen Solutions to scale – and in doing so, protect forests, conserve biodiversity, and stabilize the climate.

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