The global textile industry faces many social and ecological problems, and relies on a vulnerable, resource-intensive supply chain. For this reason, we are interested in exploring the development of textiles from renewable materials like agricultural byproducts. Social Fabric uses and develops supply chain solutions that do not include the use of conventionally grown cotton, or ancient and endangered forest to make cellulosic fabrics. Instead the company is committed to playing a leadership role in the textile sector and will support supply chain solutions that promote responsible environmental and ethical practices in manufacturing, and the protection of global ecosystems including endangered forests.
Social Fabric recognizes that business leadership and long-term success must consider the environment and human beings who work in all part of the textile and garment supply chain. Consequently, Social Fabric is dedicated to mitigating its impacts on the world’s ecosystems, species, and climate, while building environmental awareness among customers, employees, suppliers and peers.
Social Fabric provides solutions to avoid sourcing from the world’s ancient and endangered forests. We source fabrics made from alternative materials, with a special focus on agricultural byproducts, and we aim to develop partnerships with other organizations that have similar objectives. We are also committed to the development of new, innovative solutions, including textiles made from straw. By supporting the incorporation of recycled raw materials into man-made cellulosic fabrics and other fabric types, we are building a marketplace that can support the protection of the world’s remaining ancient and endangered [i] forests including the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests; tropical forests and peat lands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa, and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems contained within these forests. Currently Canada, Brazil and Indonesia are the largest exporters of dissolving pulp for viscose globally.
Social Fabric is working to produce new fibre from straw and other agricultural residues. [ii] We provide our customers with a guarantee that we are not sourcing from controversial sources sometimes associated with wood including: illegal logging [iii], contravention of First Nations/indigenous peoples’ rights, or endangered species habitat. Social Fabric is also interested in other existing opportunities to use fabrics made from other agricultural byproducts and recycled materials.
Social Fabric aims to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and where possible will play a role in mitigating climate change by participating in initiatives that reduce CO2 emissions association with textiles and clothing; these initiatives include supporting the use of raw materials that are byproducts of food production, reducing the loss of carbon-rich forests (e.g. ancient old growth temperate rainforests and forests growing on peat lands), shortening supply chains and reducing emissions associated with textile and garment transportation, and extending the lifecycle of clothing by building consumer awareness and providing opportunities for garment repair and upcycling.
Conventional cotton and wood pulp production are resource-intensive processes that can lead to air and water emissions that impact overall environmental quality. Social Fabric will strive to use best practices with our fibre sourcing and production, monitor and reduce overall emissions, adopt the latest closed-loop processing technologies and practices to minimize air and water pollution and encourage our supply chain partners to do the same.
Recognizing that avoiding impacts to the world’s forests is also tied to our own use of paper and packaging, Social Fabric is committed to improved efficiency in paper use in our own operations, and to reduce waste. In line with our commitment to recycled products, Social Fabric will only source 100% post recycled content paper and packaging products.[iv].
Social Fabric supports the development and successful implementation of visionary agreements and innovative conservation-business solutions in key forest areas, such as the Canadian Boreal Forest [v], Coastal Temperate Rainforests [vi] and Indonesia. We will work with Canopy to identify opportunities to support existing agreements and further new initiatives that seek to protect the world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests.
Social Fabric recognizes the benefit of creating environmental awareness amongst our team, customers, and partners. We will work to highlight our environmental efforts on our website, in public communications and social media, and in partnership with stakeholders. Social Fabric will work with suppliers, Canopy, and brands that are part of the CanopyStyle initiative and other non-profit partners, including WWF and Climate Kic, to support the implementation of sustainable supply chain practices, and the protection of ancient and endangered forests, and to contribute to solutions that reduce demand on our forests, our soil, and other natural resources.
Social Fabric fully supports responsible forest management practices that protect biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, provide long-term social and economic benefits to communities, and facilitate a stable, sustainable supply chain and climate of operational certainty. If virgin forest fibre is used for any product that we are associated with, Social Fabric prefers fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard.
Social Fabric respects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and acknowledges indigenous and rural communities legal, customary or user rights to their territories, land, and resources [vii]. We request that our supply chain partners acknowledge the right of Indigenous People and rural communities to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before new logging rights are allocated or tree plantations are developed, and resolve complaints and conflicts, and remediate prior human rights violations through a transparent and accountable grievance mechanism and mutually agreeable dispute resolution process where applicable.
[i] Ancient and endangered forests are defined as intact forest landscape mosaics, naturally rare forest types, forest types that have been made rare due to human activity, and/or other forests that are ecologically critical for the protection of biological diversity. Ecological components of endangered forests are: Intact forest landscapes; Remnant forests and restoration cores; Landscape connectivity; Rare forest types; Forests of high species richness; Forests containing high concentrations of rare and endangered species; Forests of high endemism; Core habitat for focal species; Forests exhibiting rare ecological and evolutionary phenomena. As a starting point to geographically locate ancient and endangered forests, maps of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and of intact forest landscapes (IFL), can be used and paired with maps of other key ecological values like the habitat range of key endangered species and forests containing high concentrations of terrestrial carbon and High Carbon Stocks (HCS). (The Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments. This has been reviewed by conservation groups, corporations, and scientists such as Dr. Jim Stritholtt, President and Executive Director of the Conservation Biology Institute, and has been adopted by corporations for their forest sourcing policies). Key endangered forests globally are the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests of British Columbia, Alaska and Chile; Tropical forests and peat lands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa. For more information on the definitions of ancient and endangered forests, please go to:
[ii] Agricultural Residues are residues left over from food production or other processes and using them maximizes the lifecycle of the fiber. These may include fibers from cereal straws like wheat straw, rice straw, seed flax straw, corn stalks, sorghum stalks, sugar cane bagasse, rye seed grass straw, flax, soy, hemp, and teff straw. Where the LCA (life cycle analysis) shows environmental benefits and conversion of forest land to on purpose crops is not an issue, kenaf can also be included here. (Agricultural residues are not from on purpose crops that replace forest stands or food crops.)
[iii] Legal forest management is management that complies with all applicable international, national, and local laws, including environmental, forestry, and civil rights laws and treaties.
[iv]See Canopy’s Paper Steps: http://canopyplanet.org/business/free-online-tools-for-companies/paper-steps/
[v] Canopy is actively working for protection of the Boreal forests where the largest remaining tracts of forests are located worldwide and dissolving pulp is becoming
an increasing threat. Canada’s Boreal Forest contain the largest source of unfrozen freshwater world wide and are part of the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sink – equivalent to 26 years worth of global fossil fuel use. Canopy is committed to working collaboratively on the establishment of new protected areas, the protection of endangered species and the implementation of sustainable harvesting in Canada’s Boreal Forest.
[vi] Conservation solutions are now finalized in the Great Bear Rainforest, located in coastal temperate rainforests that originally covered 0.2% of the planet, and where now less than 25% of the original forests remain. On February 1st, 2016 the Government of British Columbia, First Nations, environmental organizations and the forest industry announced 38% protection in the Great Bear Rainforest and an ecosystem-based management approach that will see 85% of this region off limits to logging. Provided these agreements hold – sustainable sourcing has been accomplished in this ancient and endangered forest. We encourage ongoing verification of this through renewal of Forest Stewardship Council certification.