Fashion firms urged to tackle deforestation in supply chains

13 August 2015

A campaign group is calling on fashion brands to act to ensure their supply chains are free from deforestation and human rights abuses.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said endangered forests in Indonesia are being destroyed for the pulp that is used to produce rayon, viscose, and other fabrics.

Its report, Lessons from the Incense Forest documented the expansion of mega-plantations and illegal land-grabbing in Indonesia, resulting in the loss of land, livelihoods and resources for the local communities.

RAN said it was virtually impossible to know exactly which products on US shelves came from which forests, due to the complexity and the lack of transparency of the wood-based fabric supply chain.

It calls on fashion brands to commit to strong, transparent policies and implementation plans to protect forests, people and animals.

It said: “Choices about suppliers should be based on evidence of chain of custody and independently verified improved on-the-ground outcomes from plantations and supply chain partners.”

The group is calling for fashion brands to:

• Articulate social and environmental commitments
• Adopt a comprehensive sourcing policy that eliminates fibre and companies that contribute to deforestation or forest conversion, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, and fail to address violation of human and labour rights
• Develop a robust time-bound implementation plan
• Require suppliers to eliminate sources of controversial fibre
• Become an advocate for protecting rainforests, peatlands, climate, biodiversity and human and labour rights

“Every year, tens of millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of forest fabrics like rayon and viscose,” said Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner at RAN. “These forests have played a critical part of local community livelihoods for generations, and are now being seized and clear cut for forest fabrics.

“Without strong policies from fashion companies, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can become part of our clothing.”

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