Environmentalists and fashion industry movers and shakers may seem like strange bedfellows to many, but Tuesday night, during New York’s Fashion Week, a great alliance was formed between those very groups. RAN’s Executive Director Michael Brune and Tiffany and Co.’s CEO Mike Kowalski stood side by side to ask a room full of fashion designers, models, and industry influencers to stop wrapping their products in Indonesian rainforest destruction by cancelling contracts with luxury shopping bag maker Pak 2000. To my pleasant surprise, their request was met with approving nods and applause, and many fashion industry folks approached RAN staff eager to discuss the details of Indonesia’s rainforests and how they could help stop the rampant deforestation that is taking place there.
Almost 100 fashion and luxury products companies buy their custom packaging products from Pak 2000, an affiliate of Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). The Sinar Mas group is perhaps Indonesia’s bigger forest destroyer, with APP alone responsible for clearing more natural forest in Sumatra than any other company. However, a handful of companies, including Tiffany’s & Co., H&M, and Billabong, have already stepped up as leaders by cancelling their contracts with Pak 2000.
With obvious interest from society’s trendsetters, it seems as if the alliance between RAN and the fashion industry has great potential to move fashion forward by getting top companies out of Indonesia’s rainforests. This party is just the beginning of our campaign to get forests out of fashion. Stay tuned – we’ll keep you in the loop.