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.
Getting on The New York Times Best Sellers list is an achievement that can quickly bring an author or topic into widespread awareness. Luckily for environmental stewardship, The Earth Book is helping out. Featured on our first edition Rainforest Safe Summer Reading List, Todd Parr's The Earth Book has also spent time on The New York Times List of Best Selling Children’s Books. The Earth Book has brought morals of environmental education and collective responsibility to the forefront of the children’s book industry.
In this eco-focused addition to his long series of lively, easy-to-understand children’s stories, Todd Parr uses bright illustrations and simple ideas to show young readers how important it is to be friendly to the environment. Parr’s playfully-drawn kids share the many reasons why they love the earth and what they do to help protect it: “I remember to turn off the lights and shut the refrigerator to save energy because I love the polar bears and I want the snowmen to stay cool.” The honest statements that Parr makes through the eyes of his colorful kids makes helping the planet seem exciting and important. “The earnest message springs off the page,” says Publishers Weekly.
In a way, Parr’s approach to the complex subjects of our changing climate and activism is simple without being simplistic. His relevant messages can transcend audiences of all ages and types through the poignant nature of The Earth Book children’s easy conservation commitments. Using literature to stress the importance of environmental stewardship is just one strategy within a larger movement but a useful one at that. As an environmental education tactic, children’s books can help instill important eco-friendly morals in kids at a young age and may even inspire them to become activists around environmental issues themselves.
With an increasing breadth of environmental advocacy in today’s books, it is ever-pressing that the publishing industry set an example by making sustainable printing a norm. As a sign of encouragement, Hachette Book Group chose to print The Earth Book on recycled paper with non-toxic soy inks. Having an environmentally-themed children’s book on the New York Times Best Sellers list that actually practices what it preaches is a bold statement which certainly gives us hope for the environmental stewardship potential of the publishing industry and also helps to strengthen the future generation of environmental activists.