Vancouver environmentalist to use US$3 million award to change production in paper and clothing industries

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      The founder of a Vancouver environmental nonprofit is the winner of an international award that will help her and her organization make important contributions toward tackling the climate emergency.

      Canopy executive director Nicole Rycroft is one of two recipients of the Climate Breakthrough Award for 2021.

      The award honours outstanding climate strategists to develop and execute new strategies to address the climate crisis.

      Rycroft will receive a US$3 million grant over the next three years, in addition to support from the Climate Breakthrough Project.

      Canopy, has successfully involved hundreds of fashion, publishing, and consumer brands around the world in changing their production chains, encouraging industry innovations, and protecting forests.

      Canopy was involved in the final instalment of the Harry Potter series being printed on eco-paper in more than 25 countries, and it also helped transform the fashion industry’s viscose textile supply chain—over 50 percent of global viscose production is now ranked at low risk of originating from ancient and endangered forests. 

      Rycroft, who is originally from Australia, will use her award to help generate investment in the creation of low-carbon fibre alternatives that are commercially viable for paper, packaging, and clothing production, to reduce use of high-carbon forest ecosystems.

      These alternatives will use waste materials like straw, waste textiles, and microbial cellulose grown on food waste

      “No individual or single company can resolve the planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss by themselves,” Rycroft stated in a news release. “Whole supply chains need to shift and fast.”

      This year’s other award recipient is Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Power Shift Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. This nongovernmental organization and think tank endeavours to mobilize climate action in Africa and shift climate and energy policies to zero carbon.

      Adow plans to use his award to pursue the centring of African leadership to guide the world toward more ambitious global climate policies. 

      “With Africa hosting the UN climate negotiations in 2022, there has never been a more crucial time to put the African voice at the heart of the global climate conversation,” Adow explained in a news release.

      The Climate Breakthrough Project was launched in 2016, and has previously given the award to eleven recipients from Australia, China, Canada, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Kenya.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.