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Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests

Published: June 2017

The United Nations General Assembly designated 21 March as the International Day of Forests to celebrate the importance of forests and trees to all life on earth. Therefore, it is quite fitting that this day was chosen by the UNECE and the FAO in 2014 to showcase and discuss the role of forests in greening the world of fashion. 

Why does this link between forests and fashion matter? Admittedly, forest-derived fabrics are still a small, although fast growing, percentage of the clothing industry, and constitute a tiny amount of the use of wood fiber from our forests. However, looking at numbers, business projections, and the market’s ever-increasing awareness of sustainability, we think that this is just the beginning of something much larger.

The global fashion industry is valued at about 1.7 trillion dollars and employs more than 75 million people1. Almost half of global fabric production consists of cotton fibers and the majority of the remainder is made up of synthetic materials, which are derived from fossil fuels.

With increasing concern over the misuse of limited water resources, the environmental toll from extensive use of pesticides, and the issues surrounding the use of fossil fuels, using wood fibers from sustainably-managed forests makes a lot of sense. Read more