Four Rainforest Action Network (RAN) activists, two dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, were arrested outside The Walt Disney Co. headquarters in Burbank last week. The other two activists, not in costume, hung a 35-foot banner that read, “Disney: Destroying Indonesia’s Rainforests” over an archway.
In March 2010, RAN used an independent lab, Integrated Paper Services (IPS) to test fiber in children’s books published by the top ten U.S. publishers, and found that nine of the 10 publishers’ books contained fiber from Indonesia’s endangered rain forests. Eight of the publishers “committed to eliminating controversial fiber from their supply chains,” according to RAN. Disney was not one of them.
Although Indonesia is only one percent of the earth’s land area, its rainforests contain an astonishing array of biodiversity. Due to the destruction of its rainforests, Indonesia is number three behind China and the U.S. for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Disney’s 2010 CSR report claims that the company, “seeks to have 100% of paper sourced for product and packaging by its non-licensed businesses be sustainable.” The report sets specific targets: by the end of this year, all paper used in paper-based books and magazines by Disney’s non-licensed North American publishing businesses will come from sustainable sources.
Disney happens to the largest publisher of children books on the planet. The company produces 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year. An awful lot of pulp is needed to produce that much paper.
“It is past time for Disney to catch up with its peers and adopt a policy that guarantees tiger extinction and deforestation will no longer be found in kids’ books or in any products the company sells,” said Robin Averbeck, RAN’s Forest Campaigner.
“In fact, the very creatures Disney features in its classic film ‘The Jungle Book’ are threatened by the paper Disney’s children’s books are printed on,” said Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network’s Forest Campaign Director.
RAN’s recommendations for publishers
RAN’s report, Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children’s Books and the Future of Indonesia’s Rainforests, recommends that publishers do the following to ensure that its paper comes from sustainable sources:
- Undertake supply chain due diligence including knowing your suppliers and, if applicable, tracing their suppliers back to the forest of origin.
- Make a plan and timeline to phase out any products from High Conservation Value and Endangered Forests, high carbon forests, areas with social conflict and other controversial sources or suppliers.
- Require overseas printers or other vendors making forest product procurement decisions for the company to understand and require transparency in the supply chain.
- Eliminate fiber and papers from high risk regions like Indonesia, High Conservation Value and Endangered Forests, high carbon forests or drained high carbon peatlands, areas with social conflict and other controversial sources until key reforms have been adopted and independently verified.
- Require overseas printers or other vendors making forest product procurement decisions for the company to eliminate controversial paper, fiber and suppliers.