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Deforestation in fashion

How does deforestation and fashion have anything in common you might ask, wearing stylish menswear can’t have an impact on the cutting down of trees, bear in mind the startling fact as well that it’s now believed that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb.

This is mostly due to the ugly side of fashion that is often hidden. Those beautiful cellulosic fibres or viscose, rayon, modal and lyocell as we often call them require wood pulp to be made, yes that’s cutting down trees to make fabrics. Canopy revealed that dissolving this pulp wastes about 70% of the tree and involves chemically intensive manufacturing process.

The estimation is that over 150 million trees are logged annually for cellulose fibres for clothing, including from endangered and primary forests. The fashion industry is projected to use 35% more land for fibre production by 2030 - an extra 115 million hectares that could be left to biodiversity. Analysis by Global Fashion Agenda suggests that by 2030 the land used by the fashion industry will increase by 35% (for livestock, cellulosic fibres and cotton) amounting to 115 million additional hectares.

That’s scary stuff and let’s remember forests play a big role in the planet and the balance of gases. Approximately 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – one third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by forests every year, The good news is that certain brands are now ensuring that they source and use deforestation free wood-based fibres, viscose being the main culprit. However, there are other brands hell bent on profit over all are not signed up to knowing their supply chain right back to forest.

Here at Neem we are against deforestation in fashion and track our supply chain back to farm and to spinner, we use recycled materials where we can and if not products that can be recycled. We suggest you ask more of your brands.

Are they open and transparent with their supply chain – be curious, if not greenwashing might be in play – are the companies you buy from running any sort of life cycle analysis?

Avoid viscose where you can, unless the brand is committed to better viscose, of which there are some we love Ecovera https://www.ecovero.com/ for example.

Ensure you buy products that can be recycled after use, all product wears out eventually.

We love canopy and what they are doing to raise awareness on this matter https://canopyplanet.org/

Here at Neem we are also investing in UK rewilding projects, we will be telling you more about this in further Neem notes to follow.