Vote for sustainable fabrics (like eucalyptus lyocell)
Every time you buy something you're essentially saying, "Yes, I support this product and the producers of said product." It's the simplest way to "vote" for sustainable and eco-friendly practices, or against destructive and harmful ones.
At S&G, we're heavily focused on sustainability. You may have noticed a blog post or two or three. For this post, we're going to focus on the devastating effects of deforestation and what we're doing to combat it.
First, the basics.
Why we need forests
Forests cover about 31% of the land on earth. They purify water and air, they absorb harmful greenhouse gases, they provide habitat for 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people.
Plus, they're the setting for, like, every good fairytale.
The deforestation problem
Humans are cutting down trees like they're going out of style. World annual deforestation is estimated as 13.7 million hectares a year, equal to the area of Greece. And only about half of that is replaced with new trees.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, in 2019, the tropics lost close to 30 soccer fields' worth of trees every single minute. That's a lot of canceled soccer games.
There are many reasons for deforestation. Agricultural expansion is #1 followed by infrastructure expansion, urban expansion, mining, forest fires, logging, and livestock grazing.
If you want to read more about the causes of and solutions to deforestation, check out this excellent, heavily researched article.
The role of the textile industry in deforestation
Globally, cotton takes up an area the size of Germany, or roughly 2.4% of the world's cropland.
When forests are cleared to make way for this extremely thirsty, dirty crop, they don't grow back when cotton is done with them. (We're not just calling cotton names, either. Cotton uses nearly a quarter of the world's insecticides and takes about 20,000 liters of water to make a single t-shirt and pair of jeans. That's not very efficient, if you ask us.)
Rayon, viscose, modal, bamboo, and lyocell (hey, that's us!)
What do these fibers have in common? They're all made from trees, or more specifically, the pulp of the tree. We've discussed the impact of viscose on the environment, including the toxic chemicals used to transform bamboo, for example, into bamboo sheeting, but we're zeroing in on trees, here.
Because these fibers require trees to be cut down, as a consumer, you have to be careful that the manufacturing process isn't contributing to deforestation. While we cannot be absolutely certain how other companies and manufacturers ensure their wood is sustainably sourced, we can be confident that we're doing our part.
How S&G is different
As you may or may not know, Eucalyptus trees grow quickly, with minimal irrigation and zero pesticides or insecticides, on non-arable land – or land no longer fit for food.
Our eucalyptus lyocell bedding is sustainably sourced from farms all over the world. We source the wood on rotation so as not to deplete the forests. We also never touch endangered or ancient forests.
100% of the wood comes from controlled sources complying to FSC®, SFI® or PEFC™ Standards. To that end, we never source from wood which is:
- Illegally harvested wood
- Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
- Wood derived from uncertified High Conservation Value Forest
- Wood harvested from plantations established after 1994 through conversion of natural forests or converted to non-forest use
- Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted
- Wood harvested in ancient and endangered forests, or endangered species habitat
Employing a third-party
To ensure this is true (and to prove these aren't empty marketing claims), we employ a third-party, non-profit called Canopy to oversee our forestry management and verify our sustainability claims.
Think of Canopy as an R.A. making sure everyone is behaving and following all the rules.
Adding more certs
Need more proof? We also recently earned the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biopreferred designation, which certifies that our bedding is made from sustainably managed and renewable wood pulp.
Planting new trees
We also partner with One Tree Planted to donate a tree for every order received. As of this writing, we've helped plant 41,083 trees in areas all over the U.S. that are in desperate need of reforestation.
You can see the most recent number at the bottom of our home page.
What you can do to prevent deforestation
As we mentioned earlier, what you buy matters. If you're buying bedding or clothing that contributes to deforestation, you're giving manufacturers an incentive to keep on keeping on. But if you make a point to order from sustainable companies, you can make a difference, both on an individual level and on a global level.
Obviously, this is a complicated issue, made more so by a lack of transparency, but hopefully we shed some light on it in a way that can help you make better buying decisions.