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Make Black Friday Green, by keeping the trees in mind this year

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Rainforest Action Network provides consumers a unique way to have a green holiday with a guide to Rainforest-Safe Books
Thursday, November 18, 2010

San Francisco – In time for Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) wants to help consumers make better choices about the books they buy this holiday season. A report and consumer guide released by the group called, “Rainforest-Safe Kids' Books: How Do Publishers Stack Up?” finds that publishers of popular kids’ books including Where the Wild Things Are and Baby Einstein are using paper linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction and global warming.

RAN’s new report and consumer guide, including a downloadable pocket guide for shoppers, ranks eleven of the nation’s largest children’s book publishers based on their paper policies and purchasing practices. The consumer guide follows a report launched by the environmental group in May finding that a large number of kids’ books sold in the United States are now being printed in Asia using paper that is closely linked to the loss of rainforests in Indonesia.

“Kids are starting to make holiday wish lists this week. This guide is a tool to help book-loving families avoid kid’s books and publishers that are linked to rainforest destruction,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “The good news is that many of the country’s largest publishers, seven out of the eleven in our survey, are taking decisive action to help protect Indonesia’s critically endangered rainforests.”

Rainforest Action Network’s guide recommends that consumers buy from industry leaders that have taken action publicly to decrease their forest and environmental footprints by creating time-bound commitments to phase out controversial Indonesian paper fiber and paper suppliers. The recommended companies include:

  • Candlewick Press
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • MacMillan
  • Penguin Group (Pearson)
  • Scholastic
  • Simon & Schuster

Some top publishing companies have yet to take public action to protect Indonesia’s rainforests. These companies have failed to make public commitments or adopt purchasing policies that improve their environmental footprints and ensure the papers they buy are not linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction. RAN’s guide recommends that book buyers avoid these companies this year:

  • Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • HarperCollins

Indonesia’s rainforests, home to unique species like the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, are under severe threat from paper companies that rely on clearing rainforests and peatlands for fiber plantations, which supply cheap pulp to their paper mills in China and Indonesia. This controversial paper is then used by Asian printers to manufacture kids’ and other books for U.S. and international markets. The huge carbon footprint from the destruction of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands has made the country the third-largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind only the U.S. and China.

“Leading U.S. publishers realize that their customers would be aghast to know that kids’ books are linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s endangered rainforests. As a result, they are taking steps to ensure their books are rainforest-safe,” continued Cortesi. “Leaders in the publishing industry are showing that rainforest-safe books are not only preferable but possible right now. Well-known publishers like HarperCollins and Disney Publishing Worldwide are failing to step up to what is becoming the industry standard.”

By using non-controversial papers and rainforest-safe alternatives, the “recommended” U.S. publishers in RAN’s study are encouraging Indonesian pulp and paper companies to transition their practices away from a business model that often relies on evicting communities, clear cutting rainforests, and draining carbon rich peatlands to replace them with plantations. These leading publishers are signaling support for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation.

Rankings for the consumer guide were determined based on the companies’ answers to a paper procurement survey conducted in August 2010 by RAN as well as each company’s public statements, environmental policies and commitments. After an initial scoring, RAN shared its assessment with each publisher and requested feedback and further clarification. RAN then re-evaluated and finalized the rankings.

For more information about which publishers are “rainforest-safe,” download the full report and pocket-size shopping guide, at http://ran.org/bookguide.  A supplementary list of “rainforest-safe” book titles can be found at http://ran.org/readinglist

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

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