Disney and RAN Agree to Protect Indonesia’s Forests


According to the RainForest Action Network (RAN), October 11, 2012 marked a victory for Indonesia’s rainforests and endangered forests around the globe, citing Disney’s new paper policy that maximizes use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction.RAN said that this policy applies to the company’s entire international operations, including thousands of licensees of Disney characters.

In its statement, RAN said that Indonesia’s rainforests are being destroyed at an estimated rate of 2.5 million acres each year. On Sumatra, two paper companies – Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) – are said to be responsible for the lion’s share of this rainforest destruction. While only about 400 Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, APP and APRIL continue to destroy their remaining rainforest habitat for throwaway paper products, according to RAN.

In its statement, the group said that “Disney’s policy makes clear that rainforests are more valuable left standing than pulped for paper. This policy adds Disney to a growing list of companies that are turning away from deforestation in their supply chains and sending strong signals to APP, APRIL and others in the pulp and paper industry that they must institute major reforms that protect forests and address social conflict and human rights violations.”

In 2010, RAN said it engaged Disney along with the other top 10 U.S. children’s book publishers, inspiring and pressuring them to eliminate rainforest destruction from the paper they used. By November 2010, eight publishers had committed to eliminate controversial Indonesian fiber from their supply chains. Disney and Harper Collins, however, had not.

After lab tests revealed rainforest fibers in Disney children’s books, RAN said it launched a public campaign with a high profile direct action at Disney Studios in Los Angeles. The action focused Disney’s attention and the company responded immediately. Disney and RAN entered into high-level negotiations, which lasted for more than a year and resulted in the announcement of its global paper policy.

RAN stated that Disney’s policy covers all Disney products produced in any of nearly 25,000 factories in more than 100 countries, including 10,000 in China alone. Disney is the largest brand licensor in the world, the largest publisher of children’s books and magazines and the largest operator of theme parks in the world. Because of Disney’s vast reach and the diversity of paper products it uses, Disney’s policy has the potential to influence the way paper is produced worldwide.

Indonesia has some of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests in the world. It is now ranked third in greenhouse gas emissions, just behind China and the United States, primarily due to deforestation. An astonishing 80% percent of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, according to RAN, which further stated that Disney’s policy explicitly avoids high carbon forests and landscapes like those found in Indonesia because of their huge contribution to climate change.

RAN concluded that “deforestation for paper is responsible for major social conflict and human rights abuses in Indonesia, where tens of millions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Disney’s policy unambiguously commits it and its suppliers to respecting and upholding the rights and livelihoods of forest dependent communities and Indigenous peoples.”

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