How good is Viscose? The Hot Button Ranking

Canopy, an initiative taking action to prevent the global viscose production from decimating ancient and endangered forests, just released a ranking on viscose producers: the 2018 Hot Button Ranking (full report).

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Viscose comes from trees, through a process of dissolving pulp, which looses about 70% of the actual tree in the process. It is also known to be a chemical intensive process with proven negative environmental impacts. Yet, one of the biggest risk is that trees logged for viscose come from ancient and endangered forests. To prevent this, 160+ fashion brands, retailers and designers have committed to the Canopy initiative and, by adopting policies, give a clear signal to their supply chain that viscose has to be sourced sustainably.

In order to push viscose producers on their sustainable sourcing journey, Canopy ranked them by attributing a series of buttons to their efforts to ensure that:

  1. they don’t source from ancient and endangered forests
  2. they support the industry to find alternative fibers not based on the logging of trees but on recycling end of life clothes for example.

Canopy based its assessment on the results of independent third party audits, the CanopyStyle Guide and applied a consistent and transparent methodology to rate viscose producers.

The results show the Austrian company Lenzing and the company Aditya Birla, together representing almost 30% of global production capacity, as leaders. This is due to their strong adoption of forest sourcing policies, their traceability and transparency and their leadership in encouraging supply chain shifts and sustainable sourcing.

The report supports the GET CHANGED! sustainability criteria – which currently accept Tencel and Modal from Lenzing as sustainable fibres.

At the same time, this benchmark pushes the more dirty viscose producers. Although today 54 % of current viscose global production has been audited and 28% is classified as low risk, efforts must be sustained in order to reach sustainable viscose production globally.

Reporter: Angela Rengel

Graph: The whole Ranking

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Graph: Where is viscose from?

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