Gucci storefront. Photo: Shi! There’s a new fashion trend this fall: saving Indonesian rainforests. The Gucci Group, the prestigious conglomerate of fashion and luxury brands that owns Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga, has decided to eliminate all paper made from Indonesian rainforests. That includes everything from its letterhead to the pretty paper bags with ribbon handles that they give to shoppers to hold their new couture.

A paper policy, you say? That’s not really fashionable, is it?

Turns out it is. Gucci Group’s policy puts it at the front of a list of major companies — including Tiffany & Co., H&M Group, Hugo Boss, Bulgari, and Ferragamo — that have decided  they don’t want their brands to be associated with the destruction of rainforests or with encouraging climate change.

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Worldwide, the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for 20 percent of all annual greenhouse emissions. In Indonesia, which supplies much of America’s paper, a lot of this deforestation is driven by the pulp and paper industry — notably the notorious paper company Asia Pulp and Paper.

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This hurts the climate as well as the forests. The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia’s rapid deforestation account for around 8 percent of global emissions — more than the combined emissions from all cars, trucks, buses, planes, and trains in United States.

The Gucci Group’s comprehensive policy commits it to one of the strongest paper standards in the industry. With its new policy, the Gucci Group has pledged to reduce the amount of paper it uses, eliminate fiber from high-conservation-value forests, and only purchase recycled products or those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council by December 2010.

“Standing rainforests are not a luxury, they’re a necessity if the world wants to stop climate change,” said Mimma Viglezio, executive VP for global communications at the Group. “Our actions are lowering our own carbon footprint, but we hope that they will also raise awareness inside the fashion industry that it’s possible for our industry to make a difference for rainforests and for the climate.”

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