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International Day of Forests - Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests

21 March 2014

Geneva, Switzerland

This year’s celebration of the International Day of Forests will focus on innovative forest fibers, and how they contribute to a greener economy while being fashionable and marketable.

The celebration consists of series of events, including an art performance, a conference and an opening of a fashion exhibit.

The message is simple: our choices, even on how we dress, can make a difference and lead us towards a more sustainable world.

Forests for Fashion will show all this is possible. The invitation is available here.

Scientific advice and artistic direction: Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto and its Bio Ethical Fashion Trend (B.E.S.T)

With the support of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the World Trade Organization and the European Free Trade Association, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in 
Geneva, the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in 
Geneva and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in 

Partners: The Swiss Confederation; Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève; Lenzing AG; Centre de formation professionnelle, nature et environnement; R V R Service AG, Clean Forest Club; Bern University of Applied Sciences with its School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Science (HAFL); the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International, Zegna Baruffa S.P.A.

The Concept

Sustainable development is high on the United Nations agenda, but unfortunately, still a low priority in people’s lives, and very often not a principle driving business. Promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns calls not only for political will and commitment, but also for communication and outreach at every level of society to change priorities, habits and unsustainable practices. Such a change is often not, or not only, a matter of affordability, but more a matter of knowledge and choice.

It is with this in mind that the Italian Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva, the Government of Switzerland and other partners have joined forces with the UNECE-FAO Forestry and Timber Section to organize an event to discuss:

- How sustainable forest management should go hand in hand with sustainable production and consumption, so that sustainability is maintained throughout the whole supply chain, from the forest to the customer;

- How sustainable forest management could support a change of attitude in society leading to a sustainable usage of forest products, like wood fibers for clothing and fashion;

- How the fashion business could embrace this concept, adopt it within the sector by using sustainable raw materials and innovative production technologies and facilitate the change, given its communication power and influence on lifestyles and societal behaviours.

The main message of the event is that there is a need for sustainable development to permeate people’s lives and for business to understand, embrace and support the transition towards what is often referred to as ‘the green economy’: an economy where improved human well- being and social equity are satisfied while respecting and even enhancing our planet natural capital.

To bring this concept to the attention of the wider public, the partners of the “Forests for Fashion ● Fashion for Forests” event have chosen the date of 21 March, the International Day of Forests. This global celebration provides a platform to raise awareness on the importance of forests, the multiple services they provide and the need to sustainably manage them in order to achieve a green economy for sustainable development.

Why forests and why fashion

Forests are crucial ecosystems for our lives and nature. The many essential functions they provide range from preserving biodiversity to storing carbon and mitigating climate change, from providing water catchment and clean air to offering recreation and inspirational places. Forests are also vital to our economy, as they provide us with green jobs and environmentally friendly products. We all know that timber is used to build, furnish and heat our homes. But, the public is often not aware of many other uses of forest products. Thanks to technological innovation, wood is a core material in making both traditional and high-performing products and components in industries like electronics and automotive. And many of the clothes we wear are made from traditional and new types of wood-based textiles.

For such reasons, the conservation, protection and sustainable management of forests is certainly a well understood principle and practice, but it is still little appreciated. It is thus time to spread the message about the value and need for sustainable management to other sectors, which benefit from forests. The fashion world is one of them.

Fashion is not always sustainable. It often promotes excessive and unsustainable consumption, is affordable to the richest parts of society only, frequently uses materials that are not ecological and in many instances flourishes on “indecent” work conditions.

However, the fashion world is also a key sector for changing society, because its messages are spread quickly, its new ideas are followed, its products widely purchased and used. When it comes to the use of materials, for instance, the fashion world could embrace more sustainable patterns and more ecological choices. This is when and where fashion meets forests. And where and when forests can support sustainable fashion.

Many cellulose fibres that are produced from wood pulp, such as lyocell/tencel and rayon are used in the fashion industry because of their valuable properties. They are natural, smooth, and strong and are or can be produced in a more sustainable way, unlike synthetic textiles. For all these reasons, they are also an excellent alternative to other natural textiles such as cotton and wool. Their manufacturing process is often more environmentally friendly and the products easy to recycle. Fortunately, several designers and clothing companies are already increasingly committing to sustainability and extensively using these materials.

The ‘Forest for Fashion’ event is a reminder of this. A reminder that where and when forests meet fashion they can promote sustainable development, starting from the sustainable management of forests up the value chain, to sustainable production and ending with the consumption of sustainable fashion wear.

The Symbol

The "Third Paradise Tree" was drawn by Maestro Michelangelo Pistoletto to celebrate the International Day of Forests. The art work will be present throughout the ‘forest for fashion’ celebration to remind us about the need for an alliance between forests and fashion that will allow nature to thrive and humankind to live a more balanced life.

The inspiration derives from a symbol developed by Pistoletto representing the rebirth of society - a symbol of the new world which unites the human community

The Third Paradise is symbolically represented by a reconfiguration of the mathematical infinity sign. In the “New Infinity Sign” three circles are drawn: the two opposite circles signify nature and artifice; the middle one is the conjunction of the two and represents the generative womb of the Third Paradise.

It is the fusion between the first and second paradise. The first is the paradise in which humans were fully integrated into nature. The second is the artificial paradise, developed by humans through a process that has now reached globalizing proportions. The Third Paradise is the new myth that leads everyone to take personal responsibility at this momentous juncture.

To know more about Maestro Michelangelo Pistoletto and his work, please click here.

To know more about the symbol, please click here

The Conference

How forests can inspire more sustainable fashion and how the fashion industry can contribute to a more sustainable world

Room XIV, Palais des Nations, from 14.30 to 17.30

This conference gathers all actors involved, from forest managers to clothing producers and retailers. They will discuss challenges and opportunities for sustainable production and use of wood fibres in the fashion industry.

The programme and the list of speakers will be available shortly. 

To register, please click here. 

Preliminary Programme and Expected Outcomes

The conference will be divided in two roundtables presenting the perspectives of both the forest sector and the fashion sector and exploring the opportunities for cooperation and working together.  The event will result in a policy brief on forest fibers in the fashion industry, which will contribute to: 1. a chapter of the UNECE Forest Products Annual Market Review 2013-14 and 2. the launching of a Forest for Fashion initiative for the sustainable production and use of wood fibres in the textile sector and the fashion industry.




Heikki Granholm, Chair of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry
Rob Busink
Chair of the FAO European Forestry Commission

Roundtable Discussion

Moderator: Paolo Naldini, Managing Director, Citta dell’Arte - Fondazione Pistoletto
Moderator: Dominique Reeb, Deputy Chief, UNECE-FAO Forestry and Timber Section


The tree – from roots to fruits: Paolo Naldini -


The roots: it’s about the preconditions for sustainability in fashion: Dominique Reeb

Kit Prins, International Consultant, Former Chief of the UNECE/FAO Joint Section
John Scanlon
, Secretary General, CITES

Sarah Price
, Head of Projects and Development, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International

Ewa Ratajczak
, President, Innowawood


Questions and Answers


The trunk: it’s about wood fibres and their supply chain: Paolo Naldini

Mauro Rossetti, Director General, Textile and Health-
Martin K. Patel, Professor and Chair of Energy Efficiency, University of Geneva-
Lorenz Wied, Chief of Marketing, Lenzing SA-

Pier Giacomo Borsetti
, Co-owner, Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia S.p.
Stefano Ferraris
, Owner, Ferraris Dyeing and Finishing S.p.A


Questions and Answers


The branches: going towards the market: Dominique Reeb

Jane Reeve, CEO, Italian National Chamber of Fashion
Jonny Kristiansen, CEO, Monocel S.A.-
Stefanie Trompetter, Senior Consultant and Performance Service Manager, Made-by-


Questions and Answers


The leaves and the fruits: the final rings of the chain: the designer, the retailer and the consumer: Paolo Naldini

Xenya Cherny-Scanlon, Special Adviser to the Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Jeanette Ulfshög, Head of Sustainable Development and Responsible Sourcing Groupe, ETAM
Flavia La Rocca, Designer, Winner of the Vogue Talents’ Prize


Wrap-up, Questions and Answers



Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head, Federal Forestry Agency, Russian Federation
Christoph Dürr
, International Forest Policy Advisor, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland.

Opening of the exhibit

Opening of the Fashion Exhibit with a Dance Show

Salle des Pas Perdus, Palais des Nations, 21 March 2014, 18.00 to 19.30

18.00 - 18.15: Welcoming and Opening Remarks

Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)

Sven Alkalaj, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) 

Vladimir Rakhmanin, Assistant Director-General for Europe and Central Asia, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

18.15 - 18.30: Speeches

Remigi Winzap, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the World Trade Organization and the European Free Trade Association

Alexey Borodavkin, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nation Office and other international organizations in Geneva 

Maurizio Enrico Luigi Serra, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

Päivi Kairamo, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

18.30 - 19.00: Forests for Fashion Talk


Maestro Michelangelo Pistoletto, Città dell’Arte Pistoletto Foundation
Mario Boselli, President Italian National Chamber of Fashion
Xenya Cherny-Scanlon, Special Adviser to the Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)


Rossella Ravagli, Head of Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility, GUCCI

The talk will be moderated by Paola Deda, Chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section

19.00 – 19.30: Dance show

More information about the dance show is available above on the Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests webpage.

19.30 - onwards: Reception

The event will be followed by a reception kindly offered by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva (Hall XIV, behind the General Assembly Hall)




The exhibit will display sustainable clothes and forest products, created for the event by young international designers. Main partner is Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto with their initiative Fashion Bio Ethical Sustainable Trend (B.E.S.T). Other designers of clothes and accessories committed to the principle of sustainability will also showcase their oeuvres.

The fashion exhibit will be coordinated by Olga Pirazzi (Fashion B.E.S.T.).

The designers and artists participating are listed below:

Cecilia Granara, Italy, Artist 

Claudia Chianese, Italy, Artist and Jewels Designer

Doris Kloster, United States of America, Artist

Erica Stefani e Damien Beal, Mosaics, Artist 

Flavia La Rocca, Italy, Women collections 

Florinda Guadagna, Jewels Designer 

Laura Strambi, Italy, Designer YOJ BIO 

Margherita del Balzo, Switzerland, Artist

Marita Huurinainen, Finland, Shoes

Marta Antonelli,  Fashion Designer 

Marta Forghieri, Italy, Women and kids collection 

Natures of Conflict, Austria, Women collection 

Roberta Redaelli, Italy, Stylist

Serienumerica, Italy, Knitwear 

Silvia Massacesi, Italy, Accessories 

Silvio Betterelli, Italy, Women collection 

Stefano Ughetti, Italy, Men’s wear

Tiziano Guardini, Italy, Haute couture, Women collection


Delegates and visitors can meet some of the designers at the opening if the exhibit. They can also enjoy the exhibit until 15 April 2014.

Dance Show

Join us to Celebrate the International Day of Forests 

and Enjoy the  Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests Dance Show

21 March 2014, 18.00 - 19.30  

Salle des pas perdus, Palais des Nations


Coordinator and Choreographer:

Marthe Krummenacher 


The Press Conference

The UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section together with its Forests for Fashion Partners will organize a press conference on 21 March 2014 at 12.30 at room III Palais des Nations. The conference will be with the participation of:

Michelangelo Pistoletto


Michelangelo Pistoletto is an icon of Italian art and culture and acknowledged as one of the main representatives of the Italian Arte Povera. Since the 1950s, he has exhibited extensively and his work is owned by numerous museums and institutions worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, the Tate Modern, London, and the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. Important exhibitions have been presented all over the world and his work has been included in major international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale on eleven separate occasions and at  the Louvre in Paris in 2013. Michelangelo lives and works in Biella, where he founded the interdisciplinary laboratory Cittadellarte. He has been awarded numerous international art prizes and recognitions, including the prestigious Imperial Price ( Praemium Imperiale) of the Japan Art Association. Meastro Pistoletto is also a champion of sustainability, as he is committed to societal change through the use of art. His presence in this event demonstrates in a practical way how he fosters this change. To know more click here.

Mario Boselli


In august 1959, Mario Boselli started his career entering the family-run Company, the Carlo Boselli of Garbagnate Monastero, with a long tradition in Silk production field. In 1586, the silk reeling activity was already carried on in this place by the Corbetta Family, after a marriage the activity of silk production passed under the control of the Butti Family, and then to the Boselli Family.  In 1894, the grandfather Carlo Antonio Pietro Maria Boselli, made a new and important development to the silk reeling activity by introducing the industrial throwing. In 1956 Carlo Boselli, father of Mario Boselli, a great innovator, introduced the production of synthetic yarns by means of various technologies. During all the years ’70, ’80 and ’90, and at the beginning of the new millennium, Mario Boselli considerably expanded the industrial activity, in Italy as well as abroad (Slovak Republic) and while carrying on the silk business, he completed the range of activities in several textiles fields, first of all in the base sectors like knitting, up to the ready-to-wear garments. After more than 42 years, in 2005 he left the family company for new charges. He is currently the President of the Italian National Chamber of Fashion.

Xenia Scanlon


Known among friends as the “environmentalist in stilettos”, Xenya Cherny-Scanlon has worked for major international organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WWF, across three continents — in Australia, Kenya, Russia and Switzerland — on promoting greener ways of living. Xenya is now bringing together her two passions — fashion and sustainability — in her project Green Stilettos, a blog with a vision of "putting glam into green". She is also an expert contributor with the Ethical Fashion Forum and sustainable luxury platform Nueluxe.


Andrea Bellini


Andrea Bellini (1971, Latina, Italy) is an historian, curator and art critic. He has already assumed functions as editor-in-chief of Flash Art International and director of Artissima, International Fair of Contemporary Art, in Turin. From 2006 to 2009 he was nominated as curatorial advisor at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMa affiliate, New York. From December 2009 until June 2012 he was named co-director of Castello di Rivoli, in Turin, where he presented the first Italian retrospective of Thomas Schütte (2012) and the first great retrospective in Europe of John McCracken (2011). Since September 2012, he is the director of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.



Paola Deda


Paola Deda is currently the Chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section in Geneva. Paola is an architect and holds a PhD in territorial/environmental planning and held different positions and responsibilities within the United Nations, including at: the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs in New York (Division for Sustainable Development); the Secretariats of two UNEP Biodiversity Conventions in Montreal and Bonn; the UNEP Environment Management Group and UNECE in Geneva. She has published several articles on the sustainable use of natural resources, and has participated as contributing author to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.Prior to joining the United Nations, Paola worked as researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the University of California at Berkeley.


The conference is open for journalists with accreditaion. If you have no accrediation, please click here.

For further information, please contact Nina Peeva, Communication Officer, at nina.peeva@unece.org, Jean Rodriguez, Head of Information Unit at jean.rodriguez@unece.org and Paola Deda, Chief of Forestry and Timber Section at paola.deda@unece.org 

The Art Performance

Performance by Michelangelo Pistoletto: Il Terzo Paradiso - The Third Paradise

21th of March 2014, 11 am, Plaine de Plainpalais, Geneva

On the occasion of the celebration of the 40 years of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève with the participation of more than 500 students

In 1984 the Centre organized a solo exhibition of Michelangelo Pistoletto and published a catalogue of his sculptures; the following year the artist took part in the Centre’s outdoor exhibition, Promenades.

In 2014 Michelangelo Pistoletto returns to the Centre in the context of a collaboration between the Città dell’arte-Fondazione Pistoletto and the UN for the event Forests for Fashion. 

Pistoletto will present a performance entitled « Il Terzo Paradiso » acted out by students on the Plaine de Plainpalais under the artistic direction of Genevan choregrapher Prisca Harsch (Cie Quivala). 

To know more about this event, please contact Laura Györik Costas, Responsable de médiation, Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève laura.gyorikcostas@centre.ch


To register for the conference, please click here.

To register for the opening of the fashion exhibit, please click here


Please visit the UNECE/FAO pages and UNECE pages at Flickr.



Forests and trees sustain and protect us, providing clean air and water, safeguarding biodiversity and acting as a buffer against climate change. For many people, they also offer food, shelter and employment. It is up to us in turn to sustain and protect our forests -- our future is at stake.To watch the video created on the occasion of the International Day of Forests 2014 by FAO, please click below


Models wearing PEFC-certified outfit made of forest-fibres together with the Executive Secretary of UNECE Olga Algayerova

Four years after the successful event of "Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests", the topic was brought to the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region on 1 March 2018. A side event on "Fashion and the SDGs: what role for the UN" was organised to gather a wide variety of stakeholders from many different UN organisations, civil society and industry and highlight the multiple opportunities for the fashion industry to help reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across a range of key areas including responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation, (SDG 6), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), climate action (SDG 13) and life on land (SDG 15). While there is yet no comprehensive approach across the United Nations system to addressing the complex sustainability challenges in the fashion industry, there is growing momentum in the actions and initiatives being taken by different organizations. In this regards, the event was successful in establishing a clear link between the fashion industry and the SDGs, and provided some recommendations on the first steps towards a UN sustainable fashion partnership to address this issue in a coherent way. 

Additional information and links: