“Forest is nature. Fashion is artefact. The way we dress delivers a message of metamorphosis and a vision of the world. It is important to start from there. The Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests initiative, using Rebirth as its symbol, is the union of nature – our planetary habitat – and artefact – a mental habitus – in that place where sustainable fashion is possible.”
Placing sustainability at the core of fashion - The Forests4Fashion initiative
Launched in 2014 to promote sustainable forest management beyond the forestry sector and encourage sustainable production and consumption in support of Sustainable Development Goal 12.
Through communication and outreach activities on social media and through exhibitions and engagement with the design community, the F4F initiative aims to:
- raise awareness about the environmental and social impacts associated with textile-fibre production;
- initiate real change in the world of fashion by demonstrating how innovative forest fibres can contribute to a greener economy, while still being both fashionable and highly marketable;
- promote sustainable forest management through the use of certified wood pulp for textile fibres.
Trends come and go
Promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns is not easy. Not only does it require political will and commitment, but also a shift in consumer attitudes to what is fashionable.
Our work and the Forest4Fashion initiative is guided by United Nations General Assembly resolution 76/223 on natural plant fibres and sustainable development. Sustainable fashion is also at the core of the UNECE/FAO work programme, which raises awareness about the increasingly crucial role that forests, and forest products play, and will continue to play, in the sustainable and circular transition of industries like fashion and textiles.
Fact check: the reality behind fashion and the textile industry
Forests4Fashion - forest fibres and sustainable fashion
At present, wood-derived fibres represent the only potential source of sustainable clothing sufficient to meet global needs.
Forest fibres, also known as man-made cellulosic fibres (or MMCF), are predominantly made from trees and other plants such as bamboo. Today, they make up only 6.4% of the global fibre market, a market dominated by synthetic fibres and cotton (60% and 30 % of the market share).
Forest fibres sourced from sustainably managed forests have great potential from a sustainability perspective, moving production away from oil-derived synthetic fibres and reducing the depletion of fresh water associated with cotton cultivation. Modern production techniques allow for all toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process to be captured and reused instead of being released into the environment.
While forests are currently a small player in the huge fashion and textile industry, they have extraordinary potential for a greater role and increased sustainability, starting with the sustainable management of forests.
- Our events and activities
- Virtual launching event for UNECE/FAO new publication “Circularity concepts in forest-based industries.” (2022)
- International Day of Forests – Forests for sustainable lifestyles and a circular economy (2022)
- UNECE launches the Forests4Fashion Sports Challenge (2021)
- Forests for Fashion initiative exhibition at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi (2019)
- World Café on Forests for Fashion (2019)
- Short movie “Made in Forests” (2018)
- Fashionable Forests exhibition at the High-Level Political Forum in New York (2018)
- International Day of Forests: Forests for Fashion - Fashion for Forests (2017)
- For more information
UNECE is partnering with the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion and collaborates with PEFC, United Nations Forum on Forests, Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Zoi Environment Network as well as designers such as Tiziano Guardini, Maria Lafuente and Olistic the label.