Pages tagged "disney"


A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice

pubreport_720x720We don’t get to do this as often as we would like. Today, we get to share some good news with you. Thanks to your hard work and support over the past four years, the world’s top publishers are moving in the right direction when it comes to eliminating rainforest destruction, human rights violations, and species extinction from their supply chains.

We’re publishing A New Chapter for the Publishing Industry: Putting Promises into Practice today, which outlines the shift in the entire sector as the implementation of publishers’ Indonesian forest commitments proceeds. Given the progress that publishers have undertaken in the last four years (since our 2010 report), we can confidently say that you have successfully prodded the 10 biggest publishers—and hence the whole industry—in the right direction. Click here to read the new report.

To really illustrate the point, we are pleased to tell you about two recently announced paper policies from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Macmillan. These policies go farther, in many ways, than past commitments from other companies. They demonstrate a new level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail—and a fierce commitment to eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers in order to protect the forests facing the greatest threats. Over the last four years, RAN has worked closely with publishers to develop and innovate the best practices for eliminating controversial fiber and suppliers from supply chains, and verifying and implementing forest commitments. What has emerged is a set of best practices (spelled out in the report) that could guide companies--not just in paper but in many forest commodities--in tracing their supply chains and protecting forests in the process. Of course, there’s still work to be done.

In order to translate this work to change on the ground, publishers should urge all of their supply chain partners to develop and implement strong, comprehensive paper policies. And, in particular, all companies should either stop buying (or maintain their no-buy stance) on controversial Indonesian pulp and paper giant APRIL and all affiliated companies.

RSVP to join me in a chat on May 27, 2014 to find out how you can help us keep publishers on the right track or to read the report here.

Of course, this transformative work would never have been possible without you. While much of this work has happened behind the scenes, you were with us every step of the way through your commitment to RAN and its work.


10 out of 10! RAN Brings Seismic Shift to US Publishing Industry; Next Stop: APP

Deforestation in IndonesiaWow. You know your brand is in the gutter when even Rupert Murdoch won’t buy from you because of your company’s bad reputation. But few companies have done as much to earn their bad name as Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Responding to RAN’s campaign, Murdoch’s HarperCollins has just announced they will no longer buy paper connected to rainforest destruction, which means they will not be buying from the likes of APP. This would be major news on its own, but on the heels of Disney’s historic policy announcement to stop using rainforest-destroying paper last October, HarperCollins’ new public commitment signifies a seismic, sector-wide shift in an industry that was recently rife with controversial paper. Just over two years ago, independent fiber tests commissioned by RAN revealed paper linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction in books sold by nearly all top American publishers. Today, all top ten US publishers in the country recognize that customers will not accept books with paper that is connected to deforestation and human rights abuses. This sends an unmistakable message to forest-destroying, community-displacing paper companies like APP and APRIL that consumers are demanding they clean up their acts. Please use your voice to amplify this message by contacting APP right now to tell the company to quit logging precious rainforests to make paper. Rainforest Action Network first alerted the US publishing industry to problems in its paper supply chains in May of 2010 with a report titled "Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children's books and the future of Indonesia's rainforests". Over the following year, eight of the top ten publishers in the country, including Hachette Book Group, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster, agreed to adopt commitments to stop buying paper connected to the loss of Indonesian rainforests.Deforestation in Indonesia Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world, but it also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. APP and its main competitor, APRIL, produce over 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper and are the main source of controversial pulp found globally. Both companies have caused widespread deforestation and displacement of forest communities from their land. The habitat destruction they cause is a leading threat to the survival of the Sumatran tiger, of which only a few hundred remain So, congratulations! We could not have achieved this milestone without you. And please, help us pile on the pressure by sending an email directly to APP today.  

RAN Issues Statement in Response to False Palm Oil Claims by Cargill

[caption id="attachment_20338" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A Duta Palma-owned palm oil plantation in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). Until Cargill adopts supply chain safeguards and publicly discloses its supposed 'No Trade List,' this rainforest destruction will persist in its palm oil supply chain. Photo: David Gilbert"]A Duta Palma-owned palm oil plantation in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). Until Cargill adopts supply chain safeguards and publicly discloses its supposed 'No Trade List,' this rainforest destruction will persist in its palm oil supply chain. Photo: David Gilbert[/caption] Last week, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) contacted Cargill employees in over 20 countries to alert them to the company’s ties to rainforest destruction and orangutan extinction. The email urged employees to watch a recent eye-opening prime time NBC news story profiling the imminent extinction of orangutans due to unchecked palm oil expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm oil is one of the leading causes of tropical deforestation and Cargill is the top importer of palm oil into the US as well as one of the largest palm oil traders worldwide. Cargill responded to our email by issuing a company-wide statement to its employees that contains numerous specific allegations that are either overtly disingenuous or flat out untrue. So, RAN issued a response to set the record straight. And we sent it to the same Cargill employees across 20 countries to ensure that, even though Cargill is not telling them the whole truth, they aren't kept in the dark by their company's lies. Less than 24 hours later, UPI picked up the story: "Rainforest group locks horns with Cargill." Here is our statement below. Please let Cargill know what you think in the comments section.
Cargill opens its statement by claiming that, “For more than four years, Cargill has tried to work with and engage RAN. We even hosted RAN staff at our Harapan Indonesia oil palm plantation.” Cargill goes on to state, RAN refuses to have a constructive engagement with us to understand how we are operating our palm oil businesses in a sustainable fashion, helping small holder oil palm farmers be more successful and protecting important wildlife like orangutans.” Since RAN launched its rainforest agribusiness campaign in 2007, Cargill has never once made a sincere attempt to address our core concerns. During RAN’s November 2010 visit to the plantation Cargill refers to at Harapan Sawit Lestari (HSL), RAN documented new plantings on the edge of natural forest, but we were willing to withhold judgment as Cargill was in the middle of pursing certification and claimed that the audit would be completed by January 2011. This audit is now two years overdue and Cargill is currently in breach of the RSPO’s Member Code of Conduct that requires all plantations get certified within five years. Despite these violations, this plantation is not the largest issue for Cargill. Cargill trades enormous quantities of palm oil each year and only a small fraction is sourced from the couple of plantations the company controls outright. The overwhelming majority comes from a vast and largely opaque network of suppliers that are regularly implicated in egregious violations that range from the destruction of natural rainforest to the stealing of land from Indigenous communities to orangutan deaths to forced and/or child labor in Indonesia and Malaysia. RAN has documented Cargill’s ties to these very issues by confirming supply chain ties to problematic suppliers including Wilmar, KLK, PT BEST, IOI and Triputra. The Indonesian organization Sawit Watch alone has documented over 600 cases of active social conflict related to palm oil expansion in Indonesia. Today, just under half of Indonesia’s original forest cover remains, one of the reasons that Southeast Asia has the world’s highest rate of deforestation. With such widespread conflict and abuses surrounding palm plantations across Indonesia and Malaysia, and without transparency and traceability on its supply chain, Cargill simply cannot in good faith claim not to be sourcing palm oil from these controversial sources. However, it is within Cargill’s power to exclude suppliers that do not meet the company’s values. Cargill trades approximately 25% of the world’s palm oil without safeguards, meaning it buys the cheapest palm oil from the most convenient suppliers. In 2009 Cargill publicly stated that it had a ‘No Trade List,’ which included Duta Palma, a company associated with severe cases of social conflict, but has never made this supposed list public. If Cargill has a No Trade list, the company should make it public. To be clear, RAN would like nothing more than to begin “constructive engagement” with Cargill. Cargill should look to RAN’s recent relationship with Disney as a model for how we are ready and willing at any time to sit at the table and discuss concrete steps for how a major global company can rid its supply chain of species extinction and rainforest destruction. The bottom line is that the only way to meaningfully protect endangered wildlife like the orangutan is to protect the forest habitat they depend on. RAN is unaware of any concrete steps Cargill has taken to help protect endangered species by permanently protecting the forests where they live. RAN is asking Cargill to adopt the following basic safeguards for the palm oil it buys, sells, ships, and trades: SOCIAL SAFEGUARDS – A commitment to resolve social and land rights tenure conflicts, a no-trade position for growers using child or slave labor, adherence to obtaining free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of forest-dependent communities before lands are acquired or developed, and a commitment to implement the United Nations “protect, respect and remedy” framework for human rights. ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS – A commitment to reduce biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions by ending the expansion of palm oil plantations into High Conservation Value (HCV) areas including critical habitat, peatlands and High Carbon Stock forests and/or remaining natural forests. PUBLIC TRANSPARENCY – A commitment to transparent and consistent reporting of metrics and targets as well as regular stakeholder and rights-holder engagement. Cargill states that RAN’s allegations are “completely unfounded and untrue” and that Cargill has been recognized as a leader in palm oil sustainability by many environmental NGOs and that the company has done great things to protect orangutans. While feel good partnerships with big green groups are nice on paper, they do not necessarily do anything to slow the rapid slide toward extinction for critically endangered species like the orangutan. The urgent crisis at hand calls for clear, decisive action on Cargill’s part to take a hard look at its supply chains and make meaningful demands of its suppliers to institute safeguards like those described above. Anything else is just words and does not change the destructive spiral that currently passes for business as usual. If Cargill is serious about making this change it could start by disclosing its supply chain assessment that it paid WWF to undertake, received in April of 2012 and yet has refused to share with stakeholders or the public. As it stands, Cargill has stated a commitment to supply palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to the ‘developed’ world by 2015 and the ‘developing’ world by 2020. The first glaring loophole is that palm kernel oil is exempted from its targets. Second, given the reality that the vast majority of palm oil is consumed by China and India, this means the bulk of this commitment does not go into effect for 8 more years. The world’s leading orangutan scientist, Ian Singleton, estimates that orangutans will be extinct in our lifetime if unchecked palm oil expansion isn’t halted right now. Cargill ends its statement with the outlandish claim that “more than 90 percent of the palm oil we originate from Indonesia comes from RSPO members.” As Cargill is well aware, simply being a member of the RSPO  has very little meaning and is quite different than being certified as sustainable by the RSPO. RSPO membership does not ensure that any RSPO criteria are being met at the plantation level since the only major criteria to meet in the first 5 years is consistent dues payment. Even certification by the RSPO has a very spotty track record of resolving social conflicts or enforcing its own criteria and it is not enough for Cargill to outsource its values by relying on the RSPO to guarantee its palm oil is free from controversy. Cargill can and should be doing much more to eliminate problematic palm oil from its supply chains. Cargill’s modest commitments are more reactive to the urgent demands of large food business customers than representative of a pro-active strategy by Cargill to meet sustainability criteria. There is no question that supply chains are complex, but we do not see Cargill bringing the urgency or resources to bear to move quickly and effectively to implement a credible and robust system of safeguards for its palm oil business. The science is clear and the writing is on the wall. If we want our children to live in a world where one of humankind’s closest relatives, the orangutan, still lives free, real action must be taken now. Their future is in Cargill’s hands.
 

Victory for Forests: Disney Changes Sourcing On All Its Paper Products, Takes a Stand for Endangered Forests and Animals

[caption id="attachment_20104" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Click image to send a thank you letter to Disney!"][/caption] Today, Disney adds its significant voice to the growing chorus of companies demonstrating that there’s no need to sacrifice endangered forests in Indonesia or elsewhere for the paper we use every day. This entertainment giant, which is the world's biggest publisher of children's books and magazines, has adopted what may be one of the most far-reaching paper policies ever, including groundbreaking safeguards for the climate and human rights. RAN began our Disney campaign in 2010 after lab tests found that its children’s books were printed with rainforest fiber from Indonesia. You might remember the vivid protest where Mickey and Minnie Mouse locked themselves to the gates of Disney's headquarters in May 2011? That risky tactic got the company's attention. Within a week, Disney senior executives flew to San Francisco to meet with RAN’s forest team. Now, after 18 months of productive negotiations, RAN is standing with Disney as the company announces it will eliminate paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests, human rights violations, and the loss of high carbon value forests. In practical terms, this significant new paper policy means that Disney will be eliminating paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals from its extensive operations and those of its licensees; it applies to both the way Disney sources and uses paper, reaching every corner of the company’s business. The policy covers everything from the pages of a Marvel comic book in New York and the copy paper at ABC’s headquarters in LA to the packaging of a Mickey doll sold in Moscow. In the 21st century it is indefensible that any paper still comes from endangered rainforests. And yet, in places like Indonesia, which has one of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests, the pulping of trees for paper is a part of why the country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Conservatively, an estimated 2.5 million acres of rainforest are lost in Indonesia per year. Thanks to this policy, Disney will be joining the growing list of major brands that have cut ties to notorious Indonesian rainforest destroyers and paper giants Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL). Disney’s commitment will reduce the demand for paper made at the expense of rainforests while creating incentives for improved forest management and green growth. So, just how big is this announcement? For a bit of perspective, consider that Disney products are produced in almost 25,000 factories worldwide, 10,000 in China alone. Disney owns a vast media empire including media networks such as ABC and ESPN alongside studios including Pixar and Touchstone, and is the largest licensor of toys and the largest operator of theme parks in the world. All that takes a LOT of paper—none of which can be connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals in Indonesia or elsewhere. What excites me most about Disney’s commitment is its depth, affirming that the company will avoid not only tropical deforestation, but also go above and beyond to protect human rights and to recognize the high carbon value of rainforests – two things rarely seen in policies of this kind. Join me in thanking Disney for taking this stand. It is time every company acknowledge that Rainforests are more valuable left standing than being pulped for paper!

Exposing APP: Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize

[caption id="attachment_17093" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Asia Pulp and Paper is perhaps the world's largest rainforest destroyer"]APP logo on logs[/caption] UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. As Rainforest Action Network (RAN) continues our negotiations with The Walt Disney Company to secure a comprehensive paper policy that would exclude rainforest destruction from the company’s products, we are also keeping our eyes on the real prize: reforming logging giant and Indonesian rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP has been called “one of the most destructive companies on the planet” by UK Guardian reporter George Monbiot, and now the shadowy logging behemoth is busy pursuing aggressive expansion plans into North American markets, including buying up a slew of paper mills in Canada. While RAN has been tracking the company’s trail of destruction for years, the first time many Americans heard of APP was in a front page New York Times piece last March. RAN and our allies have been working hard to make sure it would not be the last time Americans hear about APP and its destructive ways. Over the past years, a steady stream of major corporate customers have dropped their contracts with APP, including major US book publishers Scholastic, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster; leading toy companies Mattel, Hasbro, and Lego; and fashion giants Gucci and Tiffany and Co. As the APP brand becomes ever more closely associated with the rainforest destruction and human rights abuses the company causes, more and more corporate customers are realizing the danger of doing business with such a toxic supplier. As public awareness rises about the massive scale and reckless pace of logging by APP and its subsidiaries, the company has been forced to respond. But, instead of acknowledging and addressing the social conflict and deforestation it is responsible for, APP has chosen to invest heavily in public relations firms to polish its image and distract consumers from the growing controversy. The result is a sophisticated, Orwellian, internationally orchestrated effort of smoke and mirrors that refines the old art of corporate greenwashing to masterpiece levels. When the World Wildlife Fund called APP’s logging one of the leading threats to the survival of the Sumatran Tiger, APP’s brazen response was to run ads in the NYT claiming "APP Cares" and is working hard to protect tiger habitat. There is simply too much shocking hypocrisy and doublespeak in APP’s recent playbook to cover adequately here, so interested readers will need to stay tuned for more to come from RAN on this matter — but if you have the stomach for it, this TV ad from last summer is particularly nauseating. APP’s approach to infiltrating North American markets has been to become adept at operating under the guise of a wide array of innocuous-seeming front companies that shroud the company’s products from its contaminated brand name. These shell companies, with names like Eagle Ridge Paper, Global Paper Solutions Inc., Solaris Paper, and Mercury Paper, are expanding throughout the US and Canada, and many customers have no idea they are actually buying from APP. RAN looks forward to the day when accountability and socially and environmentally responsible sourcing replace today’s subterfuge and false claims of sustainability. We will be counting on you to help us get there.

Brooklyn Elementary Students Walkin' for Rainforests

[caption id="attachment_13979" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="P.S. 321's 3rd graders have a message for Disney: Protect Rainforests!"][/caption] UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. The third graders at P.S. 321 in Brooklyn know why rainforests matter. One student in Sara Greenfield's 3rd grade class broke it down to the basics: "Rainforests give us food, medicine, even the air we breathe. Why would anyone cut them down?" Good question. When I got the chance to visit these students amidst their rainforest-themed classrooms and projects last April, I was pleasantly surprised to see not only how many facts students knew about rainforests, but also how passionate they were about saving them. These students were thrilled about our Rainforest-Safe Book List, and were shocked to hear that a company as famous as Disney would have the audacity to print books on paper that comes from rainforests. Fortunately these students know how to spring into action for what they believe in! Not only did they take a great class picture reminding Disney to protect rainforests, they also helped to raise funds to support the Rainforest Action Network's efforts during their annual Walk-A-Thon fundraiser. This year, P.S. 321 students, faculty, and families helped to raise a whopping $3,400 to support Rainforest Action Network, and also raised similar amounts for nonprofits working on other crucial issues around the world. Wow, thanks! [caption id="attachment_14001" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="P.S. 321 students at their annual Walk-A-Thon."]WalkAThon1[/caption] P.S. 321, thank you, on behalf of everyone here at RAN. Not only for helping us to cover the costs of sustainably-printing materials, doing research, and making education materials... thank you for inspiring us and reminding us that not only are we doing this work to protect forests and their inhabitants, but the health and well-being all of our world's future generations. We won't let you down! [caption id="attachment_13999" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="P.S. 321 students say: "Protect the Rainforest""]Protect the rainforest[/caption]

Who is Using All the Rainforest?

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. "We got to wondering...who is using all the rainforest that is being destroyed in Indonesia?" - "Toying With Forest Destruction" video Two weeks ago Greenpeace International released a YouTube video detailing how pulped rainforest trees are ending up in the packaging of toys sold all over the world.  The video begins, "We got to wondering...who is using all the rainforest that is being destroyed in Indonesia?" The sad truth is that the answer to Greenpeace's question is me, you, and probably our friends and family. [youtube pWTKD2zjj5g 550] Greenpeace's investigations revealed that several famous toy companies, including Mattel, Lego, Hasbro, and Disney, are using fiber from cleared Indonesian rainforests in the packaging for Barbies, Cinderella dolls, Transformers, Star Wars games, and more. Two major pulp and paper companies, Asia Pulp and Paper and APRIL, are clearcutting Indonesia's rainforests and replacing them with monoculture acacia plantations to make cheap paper for all sorts of consumer products. Last year, RAN discovered that fiber from Indonesia's rainforests and the acacia plantations replacing them was also ending up in children's books sold in the U.S., and in March we launched a campaign demanding that Disney, the world's largest children's book and magazine publisher, get Indonesian rainforest destruction out of all its paper products. APP and APRIL: Stop destroying rainforests It's absurd that children's books, Barbie boxes and other paper products are driving the destruction of some of the world's most biologically diverse rainforests, and it's infuriating that everyday people are being made into unwitting participants in this travesty.

TAKE ACTION

Join the global campaign to tell APP and APRIL that enough is enough. It's time to stop destroying precious rainforests, abusing forest peoples' rights and fueling climate change.

Disney's Ties to Rainforest Destruction Exposed...Again

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. Over a year ago, I went to my local San Francisco bookstore to pick up some children’s books for RAN's Rainforest-Free Paper Campaign, and three of the books were Disney titles. After I got back to the office, I proceeded to cut the pages out of the books and send them to an independent fiber testing lab to see if they contained wood fiber coming from the clearing and conversion of Indonesia’s rainforests. The lab tests revealed that all three Disney books did come from rainforest destruction. See the test results below. The Disney/APP connection
Country of Purchase Book Title ISBN/Product Code MTH Acacia
USA Little Einstein’s Galactic Goodnight 978-0-7868-4973-8
USA The Hidden World of Fairies 978-142310947-1
USA High School Musical All Access 978-1-4231-1066-8
_________________________________________________________________________________________ The test results showed that one of the books contained mixed tropical hardwood fiber (MTH) coming from Indonesia’s natural forests, while all three contained acacia fiber coming from monoculture acacia plantations that are replacing Indonesia’s natural forests. Like good environmentalists, the RAN team sent a letter to Disney telling the company that it had a serious environmental problem: the paper used in its books was driving Sumatran tiger extinction, contributing to climate change, and driving social conflict between agribusinesses and Indonesian forest communities. Since that initial letter (sent in April 2010), Disney has not resolved this problem, and in May of this year we launched a public campaign against Disney demanding that the company eliminate controversial Indonesian fiber from its supply chain; cut ties with Indonesian pulp and paper companies APP, APRIL and their affiliates; and implement a comprehensive paper purchasing policy that puts environmental and social safeguards in place and increases use of responsible alternatives. The urgency of meeting these demands was underscored by a Greenpeace report released this past Tuesday. Greenpeace commissioned its own fiber testing of the packaging of ten Disney-licensed products. This time, the results showed that all ten product packages contained both mixed tropical hardwood fiber and acacia fiber. The packages were purchased in multiple countries, including the UK, Germany, and Brazil (test results below).
Country of Purchase Brand/Product Product Code MTH Acacia
UK Sleeping Beauty R4855
UK High School Musical 3 N6880
UK Cinderella R4854
UK Snow White R4858
UK Princess Doll Belle R4842
UK Rapunzel T3244
UK Rapunzel doll (instruction leaflet) T2579
Germany Princess Belle/Bathe Beauty R4870
Brazil Princess Ballerina Cinderella R4304
Germany Winnie the Pooh Uno Card Game
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Greenpeace’s test results demonstrate that Disney’s connection to Indonesian deforestation through its paper (whether it’s in its book paper, toy packaging, or anything else) is likely to be even more widespread and problematic than the company thought. Luckily for Disney, the answers are already out there. Eight of the top ten children’s book publishers in the U.S. have already committed to eliminating controversial Indonesian fiber and controversial suppliers APP, APRIL, and affiliates. Companies in many other sectors, such as Staples, Office Depot, and the Gucci Group, have also done so. And countless companies have comprehensive paper policies that could help guide Disney. What can you do? Email Disney CEO Bob Iger today to tell him and his senior management team that rainforest destruction is no fairytale. You can also join our email list to keep up to date with the latest on our campaign to move Disney.

Is the “Happiest Place on Earth” Driving Tigers and Orangutans into Extinction?

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney. Young or old, when one thinks of the Walt Disney Company, the first images that come to mind are almost certainly of a favorite animated character from our childhood. From Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bambi to The Jungle Book and The Lion King, Disney specializes in bringing animals to life and imbuing them with personalities that pull on human heartstrings and ignite children’s imaginations. Unfortunately, like any classic Disney tale, there is a darker side to this story, one that Disney does not want you to hear. Disney’s paper buying practices are driving some of Earth’s most iconic animals towards extinction, and so far the company is doing nothing about it. Disney is the largest publisher of children’s books in the world, producing over 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year in the US alone. Last year, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) hired an independent lab to conduct tests on the fiber found in children’s books published by the top ten US publishers. Nine of the ten tested positive for fiber linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction, Disney included. See Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children’s Books and the future of Indonesia’s rainforests. Disney kids love rainforests RAN approached each of the companies before releasing the incriminating data to allow each a chance to address this serious problem. In the year that followed, RAN worked closely with these companies and eight of the original ten have now established commitments not to source their paper from controversial Indonesian fiber. Seven of the ten have agreed to specifically avoid purchasing from the notoriously destructive logging and paper companies APP (Asia Pulp and Paper) and APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited) altogether. Sadly, Disney has lagged behind its peers and to date has offered only empty words that do nothing to ensure the company is not still purchasing paper driving rainforest destruction. Indonesia is a real life Magic Kingdom, home to some of the most biologically and culturally diverse forest ecosystems on Earth. With only 1% of the planet’s land area, Indonesia’s rainforests are home to 16% of all bird species, 11% of all plants and 10% of all mammals. This wealth of life includes endangered tigers, orangutans and elephants, the real life characters featured in Disney’s Jungle Book. Reckless logging, largely driven by demand for cheap paper products and palm oil, has threatened all of this by causing one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. The carbon emissions from this large scale deforestation has made Indonesia the world’s 3rd largest greenhouse gas polluting country, behind only the US and China. Indonesia’s forest products industry is internationally renowned for its corruption and high rates of illegal logging, as well as for its devastating impacts on biodiversity, forest communities and the climate. The vast majority of Indonesia’s pulp and paper — approximately 80% — is controlled by two large and controversial suppliers: APP and APRIL. Over the past decade both have become infamous for their widespread, rapacious demolition of Indonesia’s rainforests and communities. It's time for Disney to realize that rainforest destruction is no fairy tale. Rainforest Action Network is putting Disney on notice, and we hope you will join us to get the company to align its practices with the values it espouses and embeds in the stories it tells. Bulldozers and chainsaws have no place in the habitat of endangered species or in the production of storybooks for children. It's time for Disney to stop doing business with nefarious bad actors like APP and APRIL and to adopt a comprehensive policy that can guarantee parents that reading bedtime stories to their kids will not make them unwitting participants in tiger and orangutan extinction. Because in the end, it was Disney who helped many of us learn for the first time, it’s a small world, after all.

Disney’s Paper Policy a Disappointment for Indonesia’s Rainforests

UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –Mr. Walt Disney

Books can be a great source of new ideas, inspiration, and discovery, especially for kids. Walt Disney knew this, which is why Disney stories often carry inspirational messages for kids, urging them to dream big and imagine magical kingdoms full of laughter and happiness. That’s why it’s so tragic  that the paper policy Disney announced last week completely fails to ensure the company’s children’s books won't continue to be made from the world’s last remaining rainforests. The new paper policy is Disney’s response to RAN’s demand for action, and it covers the company's U.S. publishing business, which produces 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year. That's a lot of trees. Here at RAN we had high hopes for this policy, but, to our dismay, the policy does little for the world’s forests. The Disney policy states that, “Disney seeks to have 100% of paper sourced for product and packaging by its non-licensed businesses be sustainable. The paper sourced will contain recycled content, be sourced from certified forests, or be of known source origin.” RAN fully supports making books from recycled content, especially the post-consumer type — it has the smallest environmental footprint. Kudos to Disney for including recycled. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how much recycled content Disney is committing to in this policy. Are we talking 5% by 2014 or 45% by the year’s end? There’s a big difference, and that’s why we tell companies that strong policies must include numeric, time-bound goals on percentage of post-consumer recycled content — something Disney missed in its policy. Sadly, the un-quantified recycled content may be the policy’s strongest point. When reading the fine print on “certified forests,” the policy falls even shorter. On certification, the policy states: “Disney shall accept certification documentation for recycled and virgin paper from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Claims (PEFC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Additional certification systems may be evaluated by Disney on a case-by-case basis.” While variety may be the spice of life, right now only one forest certification provides even marginal assurance that environmental and socially responsible practices are being met, and that is the FSC. While other leading companies like Scholastic, Hachette, Timberland, Gucci Group, and many others include a clear preference for FSC-certified forest products in their corporate policies, Disney does not. In excluding this preference, Disney implies that all certifications are equal for the world’s forests and forest peoples. This is simply untrue. Here’s one useful comparison highlighting some key differences in certification schemes and showing that FSC performs better. The last of the three criteria for paper products included in Disney’s paper policy is that they be of “known source origin,” meaning that they were not illegally harvested. While legality is a minimum bar, and we encourage all companies to know where their supply is coming from and ensure it is legal, legality almost never equates to environmental and social responsibility — and certainly not in Indonesia. What’s worse is that the only proof the Disney policy requires is a declaration of legality by the supplier — the party with the greatest interest in claiming the products they are selling is legal, whether that's 100% true or not. So what does all this mean? What does RAN really have to say to Disney? We say live up to your own values, Disney. Your policy states that “Nature conservation is a top Disney priority.” Yet, the content of the current Disney policy does not ensure that Indonesia’s rainforests (or other endangered forests) won’t be pulped for Disney books. Other U.S. children’s publishers, including Scholastic, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and many others, have comprehensive paper policies and additional commitments to move away from controversial Indonesian suppliers Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and APRIL while eliminating controversial Indonesian fiber until key reforms have been undertaken. Disney can certainly do as well as their peers. The clock is ticking for Indonesia’s rainforests, Disney. As Walt once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

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