Ralph Lauren Issues New Sourcing Policy for Wood-based Fabrics

The Ralph Lauren Corp. has a new sustainable sourcing policy for its use of wood-based fabrics such as viscose and rayon.

The company will trace the raw-material sources for its cellulose fabrics to ensure its suppliers are not harming the rainforests or violating human rights.

“In 2017, Ralph Lauren intends to publish and implement our new sourcing guidelines on wood-based fabrics as part of a broader initiative to establish a traceability, risk-assessment and verification framework for the raw materials that we use,” said Halide Alagoz, Ralph Lauren’s senior vice president of global manufacturing and sourcing, in a statement. “We’ve already communicated our commitment to our vendors. We believe this initiative demonstrates Ralph Lauren’s commitment to the environment with responsible and traceable sourcing, which we believe will create a positive impact on ecosystems and global communities.”

Ralph Lauren developed the new policy in cooperation with the Rainforest Action Network, the San Francisco–based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the “forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and nonviolent direct action.” RAN’s “Out of Fashion” campaign is focused on highlighting the risks that some “wood-based fabrics pose to endangered forests and human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere.”

“Rainforests are more valuable left standing than being converted to pulp plantations for fabric,” said Brihannala Morgan, RAN senior forest campaigner. “Indigenous communities in North Sumatra and elsewhere have been suffering the direct impacts of land grabbing and other human-rights abuses from the production of forest fabrics and have been fighting back against expansion into their traditional lands for over 20 years. It’s heartening to see brands beginning to take responsibility for their supply chains. Ralph Lauren’s commitments and actions, along with those of more than 60 other brands who have developed policies, can have a real positive impact for forests and the people that depend on them.”

In addition to Ralph Lauren, H&M, Zara, Stella McCartney, ASOS, Levi Strauss & Co. and other apparel brands have adopted new sourcing and purchasing policies regarding wood-based fibers such as rayon, Modal and viscose.