Tiffany & Co., Summer Rayne Oakes, and Rainforest Action Network Start the Fight to get Fashion out of the Forests (Video)


RAN's Lafcadio Cortesi and model Summer Rayne Oakes at the GreenShows at New York Fashion Week. Credit Emma Grady

The opening night of the GreenShows -- the place to be for greenies during New York Fashion Week -- provided a platform for Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Tiffany & Co., and model and activist Summer Rayne Oakes to promote action against deforestation -- primarily driven by top fashion brands' custom packaging and shopping bags -- in Indonesia's rainforests. Tiffany's announced the switch of their iconic blue shopping bags and packaging to paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) following a day of shows featuring Spring 2010 collections by Bahar Shahpar, Lara Miller, Bodkin, and Tara St James. Hear from Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co. chairman and CEO, and view our video with RAN's Campaign Director Lafcadio Cortesi and environmental activist and model Summer Rayne Oakes --after the jump.

RAN's Campaign Director Lafcadio Cortesi and Model Summer Rayne Oakes on Campaign Goals and Bagging the Bag

The Rainforest Action Network's Lafacio Cortesi and activist Summer Rayne Oakes discuss above how top fashion brands are unknowingly buying luxury shopping bags from rainforests -- especially those in Indonesia. They are converting pete land forests -- a ground zero for deforestation and climate change -- that have a lot of carbon in the soils -- into plantations for paper and palm oil. RAN is trying to stop Asia Pulp and Paper from converting the pete lands into plantations for fashion. Summer Rayne Oakes says they have contacting fashion houses -- by getting on the phone and sending letters (on FSC-certified paper I'm sure) and spreading awareness by starting the discussion and asking questions.

RAN's Lafcadio Cortesi speaks to how Indonesia has become a major emitter of greenhouse gases and how deforestation is a major cause of this, he continues below.

The fashion industry are trend setters and the trend that we want them to set is to save Indonesia's rainforest and save our climate. We're also encouraging them to not only have FSC but to use post consumer recycled content -- as much as possible -- and recycled fiber in their bags and to not use forests at all for paper. We're also encouraging people to bring bags -- say they don't need a bag -- to reduce their consumption. That's something our whole society needs to move into is starting to reduce our footprint -- that's the way were gonna create sustainability, equity, support indigenous rights, and save the forests.

Greening Tiffany's Iconic Blue Bag and Paper Products


Credit Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany's iconic blue bag started at a white Kraft paper bag tinted in their signature blue color. In the 1990s it switched to a one-sided color coating with a print matte laminate and a polypropylene handle and in 2005 it transformed to the look it has today; double-sided litho sheets and an embossed, hot-stamped logo. In 2007 Tiffany's began using FSC certified paper -- and in 2008 they started using a biodegradable plastic film that eventually breaks down into CO2 and H20. Tiffany's catalogue paper has a 30% post-consumer waste content and is 99% approved by FSC -- last year it was 98% -- and by next year in 2010 their goal is to have 100% of all paper and packaging FSC certified.

I spoke with Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co. chairman and CEO, and asked whether there would be any indication on the bags to inform consumers of the switch -- he said that besides the FSC logo they would not be showcasing their efforts to green their paper packaging. With the onslaught of greenwashing I respect Tiffany's quiet efforts in sustainability. They have however been vocal in their banning of coral -- to preserve the coral reefs in Indonesia -- and do not sell coral jewelry in their stores. For more on their sustainability efforts visit Tiffany & Co. Sustainability.

For more New York Fashion Week and other green fashion news, check out our feature:

Green Fashion Now

More Green Fashion Spring 2010 Bahar Shahpar Spring 2010 Collection at New York Green Fashion Week Study by Tara St. James at Green Fashion Week in New York Lara Miller Spring 2010 Collection at New York Green Fashion Week (Slideshow)

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