Rainforest-Free Fashion and Beyond Paper Promises: 2017, A Year of Action

posted by Ethan Nuss

It’s been a big year for  rainforest-free pulp and paper! We could not have done this work without you, our supporters, and so to celebrate, we wanted to share some of the highlights!

Out of Fashion

This year, the Out of Fashion campaign announced three major victories, with strong commitments from Ralph Lauren, L Brands (Victoria’s Secret) and Abercrombie & Fitch. This was part of a sea change in the industry; through the hard work of RAN and others this year,  over 100 brands adopted rainforest-free and exploitation-free fabric policies. After years of education and campaigning, the fashion industry now knows that it can’t ignore the risk of deforestation and human rights abuses. These commitments not only send a signal to other companies that have yet to adopt similar policies, but also to rayon and viscose producers in countries like Indonesia, where the production of wood pulp for fabrics has been devastating for frontline and Indigenous communities.  
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Here are a few of the highlights from this action packed year:

  • Following closely on the heels of the Ralph Lauren announcement came the announcement on January 19th by L Brands (Victoria’s Secret) that it had also adopted a policy on wood-based fabrics. RAN worked closely with both companies to  develop these policies.
  • The third announcement came on September 15th, when Abercrombie & Fitch announced that it had adopted a new sourcing policy on wood-based fabrics. RAN had spent much of the previous year leading an escalating public campaign on the the $3.3 billion global fashion brand before entering negotiations on this new policy.

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  • This holiday shopping season, more than 14,000 supporters have taken the Deforestation Free Shopping Pledge, pledging not to buy from companies—including Under Armour, Foot Locker, Guess, Michael Kors, and Forever 21—who have failed to take action to eliminate the risk of rainforest destruction in their clothing.

These policies are a huge step forward, but it’s only the first step. As we know, true success will depend on the swift implementation of these new policies and the impact for frontline communities and on the forest floor. That’s why, this year, we have also focused on ensuring that policies are creating a real impact on the ground, through our new campaign, Beyond Paper Promises.

Beyond Paper Promises

This year,  we’ve launched a new campaign, Beyond Paper Promises, to ensure that policy promises become reality for frontline communities in Indonesia. By pushing companies beyond their paper promises, we can create real change for communities and for the forest. BPP_SEQUENCE_1280x720_IND.jpgBeyondPaperPromises.org focuses on profiling personal stories from five communities in Sumatra, IndonesiaLubuk Mandarsah, Op. Bolus, Aek Lung, Nagasaribu, and Pandumaan-Sipituhutaliving on the frontlines of industrial pulp and paper plantation expansion. The website provides a platform to learn  from their powerful, first-hand stories and see how they’ve been impacted by pulp producer Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) and paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
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Here’s some highlights from this new campaign:

  • Over the last year and a half, we have been working closely with our Indonesian partners at KSSPM and Walhi Jambi to identify and collect the stories shared on Beyond Paper Promises. These organizations work directly with the frontline and Indigenous communities and helped us to ensure that the people profiled gave their free, prior and informed consent in documenting their stories and images.

  • Supporters have answered the calls for solidarity and signed a combined total of 124,000 petitions  to TPL and APP,  demanding they keep their promises to respect human rights and protect the forest.

  • The stories from Beyond Paper Promises were profiled in a powerful story by the Guardian, bringing the issue of land rights and human rights to a global audience.

Defender of the Forest

  • We continue to have meetings with top level management to  demand that Toba Pulp Lestari and Asia Pulp and Paper keep their promises to respect human rights and do everything they can to remove traditionally-owned land from their plantations.

We will be keeping this momentum going into 2018 as we continue to build Beyond Paper Promises to make sure that real change is coming to Indonesia’s forests and frontline communities.

This work would have been impossible without you, our supporters. Thank you for everything you have done to pressure companies to make sure that human rights and forests are protected.