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Canopy launch paper and textile action plan to halt climate and species crisis

The international environmental group Canopy has launched a visionary action plan that describes how to transform the unsustainable global paper packaging and viscose textile industries by removing 50 percent of the forest fibre from pulp manufacturing and replacing it with Next Generation alternative fibres such as agricultural residues and waste cotton textiles.

Canopy has launched a visionary action plan that describes how to transform the unsustainable global paper packaging and viscose textile industries. At the launch of SURVIVAL in Davos, Switzerland on January 21, 2020, were Helena Helmersson, (left) H&M Chief Operating Officer and Canopy’s Founder and Executive Director, Nicole Rycroft (photo courtesy Canopy).

According to Canopy, a US-headed NGO that works with the forest industry’s biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect the last frontier forests, doing so will enable 30 percent of the world’s forests to be conserved by 2030.

Launched in Davos, Switzerland, the report, “SURVIVAL – A Pulp Thriller: A Plan for Saving Forests and Climate“, provides a lifeline for averting the climate and biodiversity catastrophe within ten years. The IPCC has listed protection of forests, especially original forests, as critical to a safe world.

The transformation will cost US$69 billion over the next decade to establish mills that can pulp alternative fibres, introduce reduction/efficiency initiatives and plant new well-sited, well-managed fibre supply forests – which in turn enable the restoration of plantations currently sited on high carbon/biodiverse landscapes.

To put this scale of investment into context, the manufacturer of Botox sold for US$63 billion in 2018. The Next Generation Action Plan outlines, in pragmatic terms, the steps that need to be taken by industries, by investors and by corporate buyers to safeguard more of the world’s forests.

It has been developed in response to the climate crisis and extinction crisis threatening thousands of species worldwide and has support from key corporate players.

Collaboration across supply chains, at scales beyond what has been considered before, is needed in order to address the climate and biodiversity challenges we face. We welcome Canopy’s approach that breaks the action plan into components for producers, investors and corporate purchasers of pulp products. said Madelene Ericsson, Environmental Sustainability Business Expert, H&M.

According to the report, maintaining healthy forests will account for one-third of what’s needed to avert the climate crisis and is critical for terrestrial biodiversity. Achieving that will require equal measures of innovation and investment. Eliminating 50 percent of wood fibre from the pulp, paper, packaging and viscose will require:

  • 200 agricultural fibre pulp mills;
  • 107 recycled pulp for paper mills;
  • 17 recycled cotton garment and/or microbial cellulose fibre dissolving pulp mills;
  • 7.5 million hectares of new forests for fibre planted on lands not prioritized for food production, habitat restoration or carbon storage;
  • 65 million tonnes of consumption will be reduced through re-use and material-efficient design initiatives

Canopy believes that this ambitious but achievable scenario provides a clear path to helping protect our planet for all life.

This is an action plan to shift global production of pulp, paper, packaging and viscose textiles out of Ancient and Endangered Forests and help us secure the scale of conservation that’s needed. Our brand partners want these Next Generation Solutions and the technologies are ready. We’re thinking big because there’s no point in doing anything less. Now is not the time for climate despair, but for transformative action, and ultimately, hope for our forests, climate, and people the world over, said Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy.

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