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A sustainable fashion industry? Forests can help!

Published on 15 August 2018

You might have noticed, but there has been quite a buzz around how our forests can help the fashion industry in its mission to become sustainable!Forest 1

Using the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in New York as a catalyst, we brought our Forests for Fashion initiative (a long-term partnership with the UNECE/FAO) to the big stage.

An exhibit of stunning and innovative clothes made by young designers using forest-derived materials was on display for the full two-week HLPF. This included a capsule collection by Spanish designer María Lafuente using the world’s first PEFC-certified fabrics, produced by Textil Santederina.

Check out the photos!

Sustainable fashion isn’t some futuristic idea

On 16 July, a ‘Forests, Fashion and the SDGs’ reception was held at the UN headquarters, drawing quite a crowd.Forest 2

Actress, producer and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Michelle Yeoh, gave the keynote address at the reception, presenting her new video ‘Made in Forests’ finding out “what sustainable fashion could look like, without compromising the beauty of our clothes.”

Currently shooting for a new season for “Star Trek: Discovery”, Michelle Yeoh says that the production of the video opened her eyes to the need to make new choices being made in the world of fashion.

“Sustainable fashion isn’t some futuristic idea for people on another galaxy,” she said. “It’s a choice we all need to be aware of, here and now, for a better life on our planet.”

Echoing Michelle’s words was Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, highlighting that “we need to move from a fashion sector with a high impact on the planet to one that is inspired and uses natural resources sustainably. Forests can help this transition.”

Demand for forest fibres is growing

Fashion brands are increasingly designing with textiles made from forest fibres, which is great news for our planet. However, we need to know the origins of these fibres, to ensure they come from sustainably managed forests that will be around for generations.Forest 3

This is where PEFC certification comes in. By specifying PEFC-certified materials within their procurement policies, brand owners can be assured the fibres they purchase come from forests managed in line with the strictest international requirements.

PEFC certification helps to build trust in forest products, creating additional demand and ultimately increasing the value of forests.

Creating additional value is one of the best ways to keep forests standing, as it prevents them from being cleared for alternative, unsustainable land uses. Maintaining forests and creating sustainable forest value chains is critical for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Forests for Fashion initiative

While we cannot solve all the challenges facing a sustainable fashion industry, we can become part of the solution. This is why we are working with the UNECE/FAO on the Forests for Fashion initiative, linking forest-based materials from sustainably managed forests with the world of fashion. Find out more!

We would also like to say a big thank you to all our partners who collaborated with us to bring forest fashions to the UN headquarters, including the UN Forum on Forests, Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T, PEFC Italy, PEFC Spain and SFI.

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