Today is a big day for CanopyStyle. What’s going on?
Today is a milestone for Canopy that we have been working towards for a few years now. Walmart US, Sam’s Club, and Walmart Canada are all joining the CanopyStyle initiative. This represents US 33 billion in annual apparel sales joining the movement to save the world’s most vital forest ecosystems. We know that over 200 million trees are logged every year to make rayon and viscose, so a company as large as this committing to keep vital forests out of their private label apparel and textiles is a big deal for our world’s forests, and good news for consumers who want to be able to make better purchasing choices.
What are the implications for Walmart joining CanopyStyle?
Walmart is a household name, so having them join CanopyStyle moves the initiative even more into the mainstream and away from niche environmental products. It also sends a strong signal to the industry that this is the way the viscose market is trending and suppliers globally must pay attention and start improving their forest sourcing practices to keep pace. And, of course, a company with such huge reach across North America and with sourcing around the world shifting their expectations can have a big impact on how these textiles are sourced going forward – which means keeping trees across the planet standing. That’s great news for people and the planet.
What makes CanopyStyle unique?
CanopyStyle focuses on systemic change. Maybe, as a nimble NGO, we can’t reach every single person on the planet, but by collaborating with companies at the decision-making stage, we can shift an entire industry into making choices that don’t harm Ancient and Endangered Forests.
We are also known for focusing on solutions. Our CanopyStyle work doesn’t stop at shifting the majority of the fashion industry away from using Ancient and Endangered Forests. We are building the conditions for Next Generation Solutions. These are innovative solutions, like using unwearable clothing to make new textile fibre. This can solve a lot of issues – like reducing textile waste in our landfills, reducing the need for new extraction, and securing fibre supply – to name just a few.
CanopyStyle is focused on sparking passion. We partner and bring brands together to collaborate in a pre-competitive space – when they’re at the decision-making stage. And brand partners then help us engage and recruit new partners to continue our momentum.
What do you find most fulfilling in your work? / What’s your favorite part of working at Canopy?
I love it when my brand partner colleagues catch the spark and become as dedicated to forest conservation as my amazing coworkers at Canopy. It is the moments when I hear them talking to their suppliers about the importance of forests or giving a presentation on a panel about their success in removing endangered forests from their product lines that I know we’re building a corporate movement for the world’s forests.
Anything you want to say to Canopy supporters?
Canopy partners with companies around the globe that are worth billions of dollars, but we don’t take any fees or donations from them so we can maintain our independence and protect our role as a strategic broker. Instead, we rely solely on donations from foundations, and from private donors of all sizes that share our passion for the world’s forests and systemic change. Your support lets us partner with these companies and still maintain our integrity and independence. We could not do the work we do without you. So I would say: Thank you – you make CanopyStyle the success that it is and you are making a difference for forests across the globe every single day.
What’s your favorite forest / favorite thing about a forest?
My first job after graduating from university took me to places seen in BBC Earth documentaries. I was studying whales and the nutrient exchange between the forests and the kelp beds where the whales were feeding. Camping in the rainforest for weeks at a time with bears, salmon, cougars, and wolves, being on the ocean with whales and living in the First Nations community of Ahousaht was an unparalleled experience. These coastal temperate rainforests, with 1,000 year old towering trees, are everything to me.