Viscose and Endangered Forests: How Rayon Producers Rank

Canopy’s Hot Button Issue report shows which viscose producers are taking strides to conserve forests

October 24, 2016. New York. Three years ago, environmental not-for-profit Canopy exposed a serious threat to the world’s forests – the fact that over 120 million trees a year are logged for jeans, t-shifts, dresses and even your bedroom sheets.  All too often, fabrics like rayon and viscose are made from endangered forests, threatening critical habitat for orangutans, bears and eagles.

Today, marks the release of Canopy’s report, Hot Button Issue, which ranks the performance of the largest rayon-viscose fabric producers in the world. It’s the first tool of its kind in enabling brands to robustly assess producers’ impact on forests and their leadership in forging solutions. The report includes an analysis of their progress across 19 criteria including the status of their CanopyStyle audits, to confirm they are not sourcing from endangered forests or other controversial sources, as well as their leadership in the innovation of next gen fabrics such as recycled fabrics, and advancing key forest protection initiatives.

“Canopy’s Hot Button Issue ranks the world’s top rayon-viscose producers on their progress on eliminating endangered forests from their supply. Some are showing encouraging improvements, others have a lot of work to do to translate their policies into action,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s founder and executive director. “Those that forge ahead stand to gain market share with brands and designers hungry for endangered forest free fabrics.”

The main highlights of the report include:

  • Nine of the world’s top ten rayon-viscose producers have now publicly committed to end all sourcing from ancient and endangered forests – they represent 70% of global production.
  • Eight producers have already shared sourcing data with Canopy to map out their supply of raw material.
  • Lenzing and Aditya Birla, who together represent 35% of the global market, are rising to the top.  Both have completed the first phase of CanopyStyle Audits and are now undergoing site visits at their mills and/or their supplier’s mills, to verify consistency with global sourcing.   Development of recycled alternatives and strong leadership in securing protection for priority forest landscapes are key elements that will determine who ultimately leads the sector.
  • Tangshan Sanyou and Sateri are finalizing CanopyStyle Audit contracts and setting dates for their audit visits.  They will be the first viscose producers in China to initiate the CanopyStyle third party verification audit.  We expect many others to follow imminently.
  • One additional viscose producer, not currently in the top 10, Nanjing Chemical Fiber Company (NCFC), has pro-actively committed to CanopyStyle.
  • All of the Top 10 producers have or have had association with ancient and endangered forests between 2010 and 2016 based on customs information and other public sources.

This shift by rayon producers has largely been in response to the leadership of 65+ CanopyStyle brands who have worked with Canopy to publish robust endangered forest policies during the past three years. In addition to the summary performance matrix included in the online report, CanopyStyle brands will enjoy exclusive access to additional detailed, in depth analysis behind the report.

Today’s report is just one of the tools being shared at Canopy’s upcoming Fashion Brand Summit in New York on October 26th where in addition to the 65 global CanopyStyle brands we will have new partners announcing policies and joining in the discussion of how to transform this unsustainable supply chain and create lasting transformative change for forests.

To read The Hot Button Issue, Canopy’s viscose producers report click here.