By Arnold J. Karr, originally published in Women’s Wear Daily.
Aditya Birla Group, the India-based apparel and textile firm believed to be the largest worldwide producer of viscose fibers, has agreed to end all sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests.
The Indian firm joins a group of more than two dozen apparel brands and retailers around the world that have made similar agreements with Canopy, the Vancouver-based not-for-profit environmental group that’s steered the effort.
Other signatories include Hennes & Mauritz, Zara/Inditex, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer and Stella McCartney.
“We’re committed to avoiding any endangered forest fiber in our products and are excited to help drive innovation in the development of fabrics made from new fibers that reduce the pressure on the world’s natural forests,” said Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group. “We and many of our customers in the fashion industry are equally committed to developing sustainable business solutions that help conserve forests and species.”
Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of Canopy, commented, “Aditya Birla’s global forest sourcing criteria sets a high bar for all other producers to meet.”
Aditya Birla’s textile group produces both viscose staple fiber and viscose filament yarn and is part of Aditya Birla Group, a $40 billion corporation. The textile group is purported to be the largest producer of viscose in the world, responsible for the processing of about 1.1 million tons of the dissolving pulp production. It operates dissolving pulp mills in India, Laos, Sweden and Canada. Additionally, plants in China, India, Indonesia and other locations produce about 750,000 tons of viscose staple fiber and account for about 20 percent of the world’s supply of viscose.