Canopy’s bold business plan to save forests lauded by major investors and global brands
Transforming the paper and textile industries to halt climate and species crisis is achievable in ten years, says new report from NGO Canopy
January 21, 2020
International environmental group Canopy today launched a visionary action plan. It describes how to transform the unsustainable global paper packaging and viscose textile industries by removing 50% of the forest fibre from pulp manufacturing and replacing it with Next Generation alternative fibres such as agricultural residues and waste cotton textiles. Doing so will enable 30% of the world’s forests to be conserved by 2030. The report provides a lifeline for averting the climate and biodiversity catastrophe within ten years. The IPCC has listed protection of forests, especially original forests, as critical to a safe world.
The transformation will cost $69 billion over the next decade to establish mills that can pulp alternative fibres, introduce reduction/efficiency initiatives and plant new well-sited, well-managed fibre supply forests – which in turn enable the restoration of plantations currently sited on high carbon/biodiverse landscapes. To put this scale of investment into context, the manufacturer of Botox sold for $63 billion in 2018. The Next Generation Action Plan outlines, in pragmatic terms, the steps that need to be taken by industries, by investors and by corporate buyers to safeguard more of the world’s forests. It has been developed in response to the climate crisis and extinction crisis threatening thousands of species worldwide, and has support from key corporate players (see supporting statements below).
“This is an action plan to shift global production of pulp, paper, packaging and viscose textiles out of Ancient and Endangered Forests and help us secure the scale of conservation that’s needed. Our brand partners want these Next Generation Solutions and the technologies are ready,” said Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy. “We’re thinking big, because there’s no point to doing anything less. Now is not the time for climate despair, but for transformative action, and ultimately, hope for our forests, climate, and people the world over.”
Maintaining healthy forests will account for one-third of what’s needed to avert the climate crisis and is critical for terrestrial biodiversity. Achieving that will require equal measures of innovation and investment. Eliminating 50% of wood fibre from pulp, paper, packaging and viscose will require:
- 200 agricultural fibre pulp mills.
- 107 recycled pulp for paper mills.
- 17 recycled cotton garment and/or microbial cellulose fibre dissolving pulp mills.
- 7.5 million hectares of new forests for fibre planted on lands not prioritized for food production, habitat restoration or carbon storage.
- 16.65 million tons of consumption will be reduced through re-use and material-efficient design initiatives.
Canopy believes that this ambitious but achievable scenario provides a clear path to helping protect our planet for all life.
Supporting Statements from Key Corporate Sectors:
“This is an ambitious strategy: one that is welcomed by UBS given the task before us of addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies.”
Michael Baldinger, Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing, UBS Asset Management
“Canopy’s call to action points to the essential role of the world’s forests in mitigating the climate crisis and the growing sense of urgency to prevent further loss of biodiversity. In alignment with Canopy’s ambitions, we are continuing the challenging work to diversify the fiber used in Kimberly-Clark’s products, including progress toward our goal to replace 50% of the fiber we use from natural forests with alternative sources.”
Lisa Morden, Vice President of Safety & Sustainability, Kimberly-Clark
“Collaboration across supply chains, at scales beyond what has been considered before, is needed in order to address the climate and biodiversity challenges we face. We welcome Canopy’s approach that breaks the action plan into components for producers, investors and corporate purchasers of pulp products.”
Madelene Ericsson, Environmental Sustainability Business Expert, H&M
“Canopy’s Next Generation Action Plan puts much needed clarity to the scale of action needed. It provides a concrete path for us to participate in solutions, as individual companies and in the pre-competitive space.”
Kevin Dunckley Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, HH Global
“DWS believes that protecting global biodiversity and increasing carbon sinks from forests will play an instrumental role in sequestering carbon as a climate change mitigant on a global level. Approaches like Canopy’s, targeting supply chain sustainability across the paper products and textiles industries, represent a critical component of this effort. DWS Group, with over 20 years of experience in impact investing, believes this represents another opportunity to deliver on circular economy-based investment solutions for corporate clients focused on minimizing their environmental footprint.”
Andrew Pidden, Global Head of Sustainable Investing, DWS (formerly know as Deutsche Asset Management)