Rainforest Action Network commends popular brand, and its parent company L Brands, for joining leading fashion companies in addressing deforestation and human rights abuses for fashion
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CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, Emma@ran.org, +1 425.281.1989
San Francisco - On the heels of an announcement by the Ralph Lauren Corporation, L Brands––the parent company of fashion house Victoria’s Secret, among others––has published a new policy on the use of popular but controversial wood-based fabrics, like rayon, viscose and modal. L Brands has committed to tracing the source of wood-based fabrics used in its clothing lines and to eliminate sources connected to the destruction of rainforests and the violation of human rights.
This new policy will apply to L Brands extensive operations, including popular lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret. L Brands joins a growing list of fashion companies attempting to address deforestation and human rights abuses in their supply chains, but it follows fashion giant Ralph Lauren as one of a few major US-based companies to address the issue.
L Brands’ policy and actions on wood-based fabrics were developed in cooperation with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), whose “Out of Fashion” campaign has been bringing attention to the risks that controversial wood-based fabrics pose to endangered forests and human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere.
“The world’s rainforests have been cleared for fashion for decades. Indigenous communities in North Sumatra, Indonesia, and elsewhere have been fighting against land-grabbing and other human rights abuses as pulp plantations for fabric have steadily expanded onto their traditional lands. The production of wood-based fabrics at the expense of rainforest and human rights needs to stop,” said Brihannala Morgan, Senior Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), who worked with L Brands on the creation of its policy. “It’s encouraging to see brands beginning to take responsibility for their supply chains. L Brands’ commitments and actions, following right behind Ralph Lauren and among more than 60 other brands who have developed policies, can have a real positive impact for forests and the people that depend on them.”
L Brands joins leading brands, like Ralph Lauren, H&M, Zara, Stella McCartney, ASOS, Levis Strauss & Co. and others that have already adopted forest products purchasing policies and moved to source more responsibly in order to slow the rate at which the world’s remaining endangered and ancient forests are being pulped for fabrics like rayon, modal and viscose.
L Brands’ new policy reinforces a strong market signal to producers in countries like Indonesia, where the production of pulp for fabrics has been devastating to Indigenous and forest-dependent communities. Land-grabbing is common place; just in the area controlled by Toba Pulp Lestari, a forest products company in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, over 20 distinct cases of land conflict have been documented where indigenous community-owned land have been cleared without the consent of communities and their traditional forests have been clear-cut for plantations to make pulp for fabric production.
Over the course of its Out of Fashion campaign, RAN encouraged its membership and consumers to write to L Brands and other “Fashion 15” brands to call attention to the environmental and social impacts of forest-based fabrics and to ask the companies to take immediate action. RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign is now calling on other brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Kors, Guess, Forever 21, Under Armour and Footlocker to also develop robust purchasing policies, research their supply chains, identify and eliminate controversial sources and implement time bound plans to ensure that loss of forests and violations of human rights are not in their supply chains.
For more information on dissolving pulp and RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign, see here.