Disney’s Ties to Rainforest Destruction Exposed…Again

Written by Robin Averbeck

Topics: Forests, Pulp and Paper

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UPDATE: On October 11, 2012, Disney announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to Indonesian rainforest destruction. For more info, visit www.ran.org/disney.

Over a year ago, I went to my local San Francisco bookstore to pick up some children’s books for RAN’s Rainforest-Free Paper Campaign, and three of the books were Disney titles. After I got back to the office, I proceeded to cut the pages out of the books and send them to an independent fiber testing lab to see if they contained wood fiber coming from the clearing and conversion of Indonesia’s rainforests.

The lab tests revealed that all three Disney books did come from rainforest destruction. See the test results below.

The Disney/APP connection

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

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The test results showed that one of the books contained mixed tropical hardwood fiber (MTH) coming from Indonesia’s natural forests, while all three contained acacia fiber coming from monoculture acacia plantations that are replacing Indonesia’s natural forests.

Like good environmentalists, the RAN team sent a letter to Disney telling the company that it had a serious environmental problem: the paper used in its books was driving Sumatran tiger extinction, contributing to climate change, and driving social conflict between agribusinesses and Indonesian forest communities. Since that initial letter (sent in April 2010), Disney has not resolved this problem, and in May of this year we launched a public campaign against Disney demanding that the company eliminate controversial Indonesian fiber from its supply chain; cut ties with Indonesian pulp and paper companies APP, APRIL and their affiliates; and implement a comprehensive paper purchasing policy that puts environmental and social safeguards in place and increases use of responsible alternatives.

The urgency of meeting these demands was underscored by a Greenpeace report released this past Tuesday. Greenpeace commissioned its own fiber testing of the packaging of ten Disney-licensed products. This time, the results showed that all ten product packages contained both mixed tropical hardwood fiber and acacia fiber. The packages were purchased in multiple countries, including the UK, Germany, and Brazil (test results below).

Country of Purchase Brand/Product Product Code MTH Acacia
UK Sleeping Beauty R4855
UK High School Musical 3 N6880
UK Cinderella R4854
UK Snow White R4858
UK Princess Doll Belle R4842
UK Rapunzel T3244
UK Rapunzel doll (instruction leaflet) T2579
Germany Princess Belle/Bathe Beauty R4870
Brazil Princess Ballerina Cinderella R4304
Germany Winnie the Pooh Uno Card Game

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Greenpeace’s test results demonstrate that Disney’s connection to Indonesian deforestation through its paper (whether it’s in its book paper, toy packaging, or anything else) is likely to be even more widespread and problematic than the company thought. Luckily for Disney, the answers are already out there. Eight of the top ten children’s book publishers in the U.S. have already committed to eliminating controversial Indonesian fiber and controversial suppliers APP, APRIL, and affiliates. Companies in many other sectors, such as Staples, Office Depot, and the Gucci Group, have also done so. And countless companies have comprehensive paper policies that could help guide Disney.

What can you do? Email Disney CEO Bob Iger today to tell him and his senior management team that rainforest destruction is no fairytale. You can also join our email list to keep up to date with the latest on our campaign to move Disney.

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