Fashion follows the seasonal cycle of nature, at the same time, its environmental impact is well known. As climate change and other environmental issues worsen globally, the industry is looking to replace its conventional materials with sustainable alternatives. Forests are part of the solution.
Natural and renewable forest fibres have a huge potential to make the fashion industry more sustainable. But the origin of these fibres is critical and must be proven. This is where PEFC and sustainable forest management comes in, protecting our forests and the people that depend on them, while providing us with the materials needed to create our clothes.
Forests’ contribution to our planet
Our forests are amazing. They help mitigate climate change, maintain water quality and stabilize soil, provide food and livelihoods to millions of people and are home to an extraordinary amount of biodiversity. Forest products meanwhile, provide us with a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels – from construction to clothing. But we need to manage our forests sustainably.
Download our white paper to read how sustainable forest management can help the fashion industry reduce its carbon footprint.
The PEFC solution
PEFC sustainable forest management certification provides assurances that forests are managed in line with challenging international requirements, safeguarding them and protecting their diverse functions. It requires certified forest owners to manage their forests in a way that maintains or enhances the ecological, social, cultural, and economic values of the forest.
PEFC chain of custody certification then provides the link, tracking forest-based products from these forests to the final product, monitoring each step of the supply chain through independent third- party auditing. It also covers minimum requirements on health, safety and labour issues.
By sourcing PEFC-certified materials, you not only have assurance of their sustainable origin, but you also contribute to the sustainable management of the world’s forests. Building trust in forest products supports sustainable livelihoods, helps to build responsible value chains, and increases the value of forests. In turn, increasing their value helps to keep forests standing, preventing them from being cleared for alternative, unsustainable land uses.
Why you should procure certified material
There are numerous benefits of ensuring that you procure PEFC-certified material, for both your business and the planet.
It gives you the assurance that your procurement of forest fibres doesn’t contribute to deforestation or forest degradation, as well as helping you to meet climate targets. In addition, maintaining forests and creating sustainable forest value chains is critical for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Ethical consumption is on the rise, as market research has repeatedly shown over the past years. Being able to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability is therefore a clear market advantage. Sourcing PEFC-certified material proves your social and environmental responsibility to the public and your customers.
PEFC-certified material is widely available. 75% of the world’s certified forests are under PEFC certification – around 320 million hectares. Using PEFC-certified material therefore enables you to secure your supply of responsibly sourced material and increase your business resilience.
The PEFC Collaboration Roadmap – five steps by 2025
Fashion brands and retailers have a huge opportunity to help champion and support the sustainable management of the world’s forests, bringing benefits to you, our forests and the world. We invite you to join us and work together to make the most of this opportunity.
To help, we have created a five-step road map to a sustainable forest management policy. This roadmap can also be easily connected and complimented by your other viscose-related polices on chemicals or water use.
- Engage with PEFC to learn more about how sustainably managed forests store carbon, protect biodiversity, support rural communities and support the fashion industry.
- Develop a responsible sourcing policy for wood-based fibres and other wood-based materials – from clothing to packaging and point of sale.
- Map your supply chain and collaborate to implement procedures that trace wood-based products back to origin to ensure they are sustainable.
- Increase your sourcing of wood-based products from sustainably managed forests and recycled sources and set ambitious targets to achieve 100% sourcing from certified sustainably managed forests.
- Collaborate with PEFC and our global network of 750,000 forest owners, from the large to the small, to meet your environmental goals through projects that protect and restore forests.
The time to increase your positive impact is now. Together we can make a difference for the future of the fashion industry, our forests and our world.
Join us and work together to promote sustainable management of the world’s forests.
Fashion and the SDGsFrom responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), gender equality (SDG 5) and clean water and sanitation, (SDG 6) to decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), climate action (SDG 13) and life on land (SDG 15), sustainable, forest-based fashion has the potential to contribute to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
But to unlock the full potential, the sector needs radical transformation and innovative solutions. That’s where PEFC certification has an important role to play – mobilizing forest-based solutions towards creating a sustainable fashion sector.
The initiative “Forest for Fashion” was first launched in 2014 by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). Since then it inspired other initiatives and partners to join forces and continue growing the idea.
The “Forests for Fashion – Fashion for Forests” publication, released in June 2017, provides deeper insights on what happens when sustainable forest management meets sustainable fashion trends.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) works with young designers to bring the trend to a wider audience, while ensuring that forest-based materials originate from sustainably managed forests.