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To Keep Old Growth Out of New Shirts, Fashion Turns to Technology


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Forest Mapper shows where forests and soil store enormous volumes of carbon.

The Forest Mapper website uses satellite imagery and conservation research to identify the forests that scientists say need to be left alone.

Credit: Canopy

Clothing brands collaborated with the Canadian nonprofit Canopy to build a website employing satellite imagery and conservation research to identify forests that should be kept pristine, in order to make supply chains less ecologically destructive.

The "Forest Mapper" features images that can resolve to 30 square meters in some areas; it displays 36 layers of data (25 directly about forests, with others encompassing threatened species habitats and carbon sequestered in trees and soil).

On-the-ground research, complemented by Forest Mapper, is only now giving consumer companies and non-governmental organizations sufficient data to either prune undesirable viscose (rayon) supplies from the business, or challenge suppliers to rethink their practices.

For example, Kimberly-Clark's Lisa Morden said the company intends to overlay its supply chain onto the Forest Mapper, because "The data is very rich and has a lot of depth to it, so it gives us some more science-based approaches to how we think about our supply chain."

From Bloomberg
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