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Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Big Fashion Put on Notice for its Role in Forest Destruction, Rights Abuses; Activists to Place ‘Warning Labels’ on Offending Brands
Rayon and other fabrics commonly used by the ‘Fashion Fifteen’ brands are made from dissolving pulp tied to deforestation, says Rainforest Action Network
San Francisco, CA – Major fashion brands are grinding up forests to make the clothes American’s wear everyday? It sounds crazy, but it’s true. While very few people have even heard of dissolving pulp, it is the primary ingredient in rayon and other common fabrics, and forest advocates say it is a growing threat to forests around the world.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has launched the Out of Fashion campaign, which calls on major fashion brands, dubbed the ‘Fashion Fifteen,’ to commit to using only forest friendly fabrics in their products. RAN is engaging with the fashion industry to convince companies to adopt binding policies to ensure that deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution are rooted out and removed from their fabric supply chains.
“Every year, millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of dissolving pulp. And the process is almost criminally inefficient: only thirty percent of tree matter is actually usable for clothing,” says Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “This scandal has been hidden in plain sight for too long, but no more. The time has come for the fashion industry to take responsibility for its impacts on people and the planet and to publicly adopt binding policies that prevent deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution from being woven into the fabrics Americans wear everyday.”
Starting today, activists around the country are flooding malls, boutique clothing stores and major shopping outlets, placing stickers on the tags of clothing made with dissolving pulp that say “Warning: This Item May Contain Forest Destruction.”
Fibers made from dissolving pulp go by many names, including: rayon, viscose, Tencel ©, Lyocell and modal.
The Fashion Fifteen group of companies targeted by the Out of Fashion campaign are divided into three categories which include 1) ‘Closet Classics’ brands: Guess, Abercrombie, Forever 21, Velvet and Limited Brands (Victoria Secret, The Limited and Express); 2) Athletic brands: Under Armour, Foot Locker, Gaiam, Beyond Yoga and 3) Luxury brands: Prada Group, Vince, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and LVMH (which includes Dior, Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and many others).
Dissolving pulp comes from critical forest ecosystems around the world, including Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, and the USA. In Indonesia, dissolving pulp plantations have logged irreplaceable tropical rainforests, displaced traditional communities and destroyed priceless biodiversity. Communities in Northern Sumatra have been fighting a dissolving pulp mill for over 20 years, taking action to protect the forests, rivers, and farms at the basis of their way of life.
For more information on dissolving pulp and RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign, see here.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org