Man-made Cellulosic Fibres
Find out more about our approach to responsibly sourcing man-made cellulosic fibres
Man-made cellulosic fibres are derived from plants, most often trees, that are processed into pulp before being extruded into a fibre. The most common man-made cellulosic fibre is viscose, but this group also contains lyocell, modal and cupro and acetate. Characterised by their excellent breathability and drape, man-made cellulosic fibres account for around 6% of global fibre production volume, according to the Textile Exchange. Their production volume doubled between 1990 and 2018 and is expected to grow further.
The sourcing of man-made cellulosic fibres can leave a significant environmental and social footprint. Approximately 150 million trees are logged annually to produce the feedstock for viscose fibre, according to Canopy. Avoiding forest loss and degradation is imperative in reducing carbon emissions, preserving biodiversity and maintaining critical services to local communities. You can find out more about our approach to protecting forests here.
Secondly, transforming wood pulp into a fibre requires several manufacturing steps of intensive water, chemical and energy use. The manufacture of man-made cellulosic fibres uses potentially hazardous chemicals, which if managed improperly can be harmful to both human health and the environment.
Man-made cellulosics are an important material group to M&S Clothing and Home, we source around 11,000 tonnes of fibre per year for our products. Since 2015, we have been working to address the impacts of sourcing these fibres. Find out more about our journey below.