NGO Canopy Plant

Hello? It’s 2018!

Vancouver-based NGO Canopy fumes on Twitter as loggers continue to cut down massive old growth trees for clothing, packaging, and fliers – this time right in Canopy’s own backyard. Is this tree going to become your next t-shirt?

With only around 21% of the world’s virgin forests still standing, the NGO Canopy has made it their mission to advance the conservation of the remaining ancient and endangered forests and work together with companies to develop sustainable solutions. So, it’s not strange that Canopy’s Founder and Executive Director Nicole Rycroft expressed her frustration via Tweet as the chainsaws again returned to Vancouver Island’s last remaining 1% of old growth forest – but could these towering giants really be logged for such mundane products as clothing, packaging and fliers? Suston reached out to Nicole Rycroft for comment to make sure we hadn’t misread:

“It is ridiculous that in 2018 we are still using old growth trees such as these towering giants on Vancouver Island to make products like food wrappers, newsprint, fliers, packaging.”

No misunderstanding here, it seems.

Ancient forest viscose

More than 150 million trees are logged each year and turned into viscose fabric, and production is set to double within the next decade. Witnessing the exponential growth of viscose production in a relative knowledge vacuum, Canopy has initiated the B2B initiative CanopyStyle and has partnered with outdoor brands like Prana, The North Face, Patagonia, Timberland and Jansport to put viscose production on a more sustainable path. Nicole Rycroft explains:

“CanopyStyle aims to eliminate the use of ancient and endangered forests from viscose and rayon clothing. Parallel with this goal we work to kick-start commercial scale production of next gen solutions such as fabrics made from recycled fabrics or straw and secure large-scale conservation in key landscapes of hope.”

To date, CanopyStyle has resulted in: the formal protection or logging moratoria of 25 million acres of forests; producers and manufacturers representing 70% of global rayon-viscose have formal #CanopyStyle commitments to stop sourcing from ancient and endangered forests; and 25% of the world’s viscose supply has been verified to be at low risk of containing ancient and endangered forest fibre by the #CanopyStyle Audits.

A giant red cedar tree cut down recently in the Nahmint Valley

A giant red cedar tree cut down recently in the Nahmint Valley – Port Alberni, BC.

What you can do save ancient forests

To avoid inadvertently contributing to the destruction of ancient forests, Canopy recommends consumers to give preference to papers that have high-recycled content, and recommends that businesses:

1. Develop a rigorous wood fibre procurement policy with an ENGO such as Canopy, This sends a clear message to suppliers that they will be avoiding logging in ancient and endangered forests.

2. Support and invest in the development of alternative papers such as recycled or straw waste papers.

3. Engage their viscose suppliers to pursue the CanopyStyle Audit and paper and packaging producers to verify they are not sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.


Cover photo: Old-growth logging impacts on a creek in the Klanawa Valley – Vancouver Island, BC.

Photos: TJ Watt.

Jonathan Eidse

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