We 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.
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.
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
TAKE ACTIONJoin 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.
|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||√|
|Country of Purchase||Brand/Product||Product Code||MTH||Acacia|
|UK||High School Musical 3||N6880||√||√|
|UK||Princess Doll Belle||R4842||√||√|
|UK||Rapunzel doll (instruction leaflet)||T2579||√||√|
|Germany||Princess Belle/Bathe Beauty||R4870||√||√|
|Brazil||Princess Ballerina Cinderella||R4304||√||√|
|Germany||Winnie the Pooh Uno Card Game||√||√|
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –Mr. Walt DisneyBooks 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.”