Viscose (also known as rayon), modal, and lyocell are derived from cellulose made from the dissolved wood pulp of trees. They account for 7% of the materials used at C&A during 2019.
Protecting endangered forests
To support the conservation of Ancient and Endangered Forests in the production of viscose, we are working with the CanopyStyle Initiative. Through this initiative we have committed to assessing the sourcing of cellulose-based fibres and eliminating fabrics made of pulp from Ancient and Endangered Forests, and other controversial sources.
Our actions include:
Suppliers are audited by CanopyStyle and their results are published to verify they are not sourcing fabrics made of pulp from Ancient and Endangered Forests, and other controversial sources. To date, CanopyStyle has confirmed through audits that 28% of the global production of man-made cellulosics is at low risk of sourcing from ancient and endangered forests. Canopy also released the ForestMapper tool, which enables us – and suppliers – to view where Ancient and Endangered Forests are located, and make more informed decisions when purchasing viscose fabrics.
Committed to responsible viscose production
Viscose production may result in environmental degradation if our suppliers' manufacturing processes are not well controlled. In 2018, the Changing Markets Foundation authored a roadmap towards responsible viscose and modal fibre manufacturing, outlining the steps needed to address these challenges. C&A committed to improve chemical and environmental practices in cellulosic fibre production using the best practices identified in the roadmap, and to helping suppliers remediate current challenges. This includes working with Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) on their development of standards and protocols for the viscose industry, collaborating with like-minded brands, and working directly with suppliers on continuous improvement plans. The areas of focus as outlined in the roadmap include regulatory compliance, human rights, raw materials from responsibly managed resources under our Canopy commitment, biodiversity, waste minimisation, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, water impacts minimisation, prevention of water pollution, and other considerations.
Sourcing from suppliers that value conservation of forests
CanopyStyle's Hot Button Ranking and Report serves as the primary ﬁbre sourcing analysis tool for the fashion industry. It includes more than 200 brands, retailers, and designers committed to eliminating the use of Ancient and Endangered Forests in viscose and other cellulosic fabrics. It also gives preference to textiles made from innovative ﬁbres by the end of 2020. The Hot Button Ranking rates the largest global producers of viscose and cellulosic fabrics according to their raw material sourcing practices, and highlights product development with lower impact, as well as producers showing leadership in supporting global forest conservation solutions.
A 'green shirt' designation, the highest rating, as well as a 'yellow/green shirt', signal that these producers have met or are on the path to meeting the requirement to eliminate sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests by the end of 2020. The viscose used in C&A collections is sourced from only three suppliers: Birla and Lenzing for staple ﬁbre and Enka for ﬁlament — all of which earned 'green shirts' in the Hot Button report.
Additionally, C&A Brazil has been working since 2018 to raise awareness amongst the supply chain about the importance of choosing viscose fibre which does not come from endangered forests, and of the need to select the best origin of this raw material. In 2019, approximately 65% of the volume of viscose used for C&A Brazil products came from suppliers who, through a commitment letter, were made aware of and engaged with this important cause.
Sourcing from suppliers committed to responsible viscose production
In 2019, Changing Markets categorised brands in their Dirty Fashion Report to determine which are leading the transition to working with suppliers that minimise environmental impacts. In the categorisation, C&A was listed at the #3 position in the 'frontrunner' group with nine other brands.
Cutting carbon through more sustainable viscose
We estimate that our sourcing of more sustainable cellulose in 2019 avoided 57,157 metric tons of CO2e (tCO2e) emissions compared to conventional cellulosic fibres, a 45% lower impact than conventional cellulosic fibres.
Globally, we will continue working with suppliers to eliminate the sourcing of fabrics made from controversial sources and train suppliers on the Canopy Style Initiative. We will also continue working with them to adopt the practices in the Changing Markets Foundation roadmap for cleaner viscose production and continue working with ZDHC on standards for assessing performance that will help to drive further improvement in fibre production.