HarperCollins Paper Policy Under Construction – An Opportunity to Get it Right

Written by Robin Averbeck

Topics: Forests, Pulp and Paper

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This morning I logged onto to HarperCollins’ website to check out the company’s paper policy. What I found was something different than I’d seen before—just the first paragraph of their previous policy. I suspect that the policy may be under construction as we speak, and if that’s the case, I am urging HarperCollins to be a leader by meeting or beating other best in class policies.

Luckily, there are many examples within the publishing industry to look to for guidance. Scholastic, Hachette, and Disney all have robust, comprehensive paper policies. Write to HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray now and urge him to get it right.

In a letter to HarperCollins’ CEO earlier this week, we urged the company to adopt a meaningful, comprehensive, company-wide paper policy with numeric, time-bound goals to a) eliminate controversial sources, b) maximize post-consumer recycled content, and c) give preference to fibers and products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) if virgin fiber or materials are used. HarperCollins’ UK division’s policy, last updated in 2008, incorporates many of these elements, yet they are not present in HarperCollins’ U.S. policy. RAN is looking to HarperCollins to adopt a globally consistent, comprehensive policy.

HarperCollins Paper Policy Friday 12/14/12

HarperCollins Paper Policy Tuesday 12/11/12

In our letter we also urged HarperCollins to eliminate its use of controversial Indonesian fiber and publicly sever all financial ties with Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) and their affiliates until key reforms are adopted. While the company stated that it “currently does not do business with APP or APRIL” in a Mother Jones article that came out today, it has not yet answered key questions, such as: Does this commitment includes APP subsidiaries and affiliates, such as Gold East? Given that APRIL is primarily a pulp company supplying paper mills in China and elsewhere, has HarperCollins learned from printers and paper suppliers whether the mills they are purchasing from use pulp from APRIL? Has the decision to stop working with APP and APRIL been communicated to printers and paper suppliers and has this requirement been inserted into all HarperCollins’ contracts and purchase orders?

HarperCollins looks to be heading in a positive direction—now it has the opportunity to cross the finish line with a robust paper policy, and clarification and strong implementation of its commitments to avoid controversial suppliers APP and APRIL.

Hopefully HarperCollins won’t be ruining any more Christmases with rainforest destruction in its books.

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