Next Generation Innovation on the Rise

With projections for viscose showing strong and continued growth, alternatives to forest-derived viscose are imperative. Alleviating stress on the world’s forests and climate can be achieved by shifting towards more circular models of production and the use of next-generation solutions that rely on non-forest fibers. Catalyzing rapid and broad adoption of these next-generation technologies is a priority for Canopy and will feature prominently in our work with brands and producers over the coming years.

For any new supply chain, market demand is key. CanopyStyle policies, whether with clothing brands or viscose producers, already build in commitments to support the development and commercial production of disruptive technologies and innovation. CanopyStyle brands are placing a high priority on the development of next-generation solutions – with companies such as H&M, Kering and C&A establishing prizes to support the early-stage development of promising technologies, and retailers like Fast Retailing are prioritizing the use of “innovative fiber alternatives” as one of just three key performance indicators in their policy.

Building on this early priming of the market, we now work with brands to develop agreed timelines for how, and when, they will incorporate alternative fiber based fabrics into their product lines and how much fiber they will need to access. Many CanopyStyle brand policies now articulate a clear preference for purchasing, by 2020, man-made cellulosic fibers with a minimum 50% of innovative fiber sources, such as recycled sources and agricultural residues.

Similarly, Canopy works with producers to ensure they will be able to meet the market demand. We are fostering this by prioritizing research and development of new fiber technologies and starting to plan how to scale up production as an integrated part of producers’ business growth.

We are also working directly with next-generation innovators who are leading the development of these much-needed alternative fabrics. All of the ventures listed below have adopted a policy with Canopy and use lower impact feedstock, such as recycled fabrics, agricultural residues and/or use microbial cellulose technologies. We are currently working with all of these entrepreneurs on bringing their solution technologies to the market at scale – be it in partnership with existing mainstream producers or by themselves.

Recognizing, through our work in the paper and packaging field, that equity investment in innovative technologies can be an obstacle to rapid progress, Canopy is now working with a global investment firm to develop a pooled equity fund to support disruptive technologies build commercial scale facilities.

Whether innovators want to secure market access, license their technologies or attract investment in brick-and-mortar infrastructure, Canopy is investing its efforts in the success of the next-generation fashion revolution.