‘Surely we are smarter than mowing down 1,000-year-old trees to make T-shirts’ – the complex rise of viscose

By Fleur Britten
The Guardian UK
July 1, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

You might think that wearing a top made from wood pulp would give instant eco-credentials – it is renewable, biodegradable, and, having once been a tree, it has soaked up some carbon along the way. What’s more, it’s not plastic. This is why many brands are opting for viscose, Lycocell, acetate and modal – soft, silky, semi-synthetic fabrics made from tree-pulp – as an apparently more sustainable option. Except that the chances are that your wood-pulp top may not be so green. “Deforestation continues to be a problem,” says Nicole Rycroft, of Canopy, a Vancouver-based NGO. …In total, about 300m trees are logged globally each year. …“Significant amounts” of viscose come from endangered forests in Brazil, Canada and Indonesia, says Rycroft. …One-sixth of the world’s biggest viscose producers are described as “high risk” in CanopyStyle’s latest Hot Button Report, which assesses producers’ risk of deforestation and their adoption of lower-carbon alternatives to virgin wood-pulp.

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