Disney revamps paper buying to protect rainforests

12 October 2012 - 13:02 By Reuters
The water tower at The Walt Disney Co. The company has re-released classic animation film The Lion King in 3D. File photo.
The water tower at The Walt Disney Co. The company has re-released classic animation film The Lion King in 3D. File photo.
Image: Fred Prouser

Walt Disney says it has changed its purchasing policies to reduce paper use and avoid paper harvested from endangered forests.

The new policy aims to eliminate paper made with “irresponsibly harvested fiber” and maximize use of products that come from areas approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, Disney said in a statement. It follows similar moves by other major publishers.

Disney’s guidelines also are meant to minimize paper consumption and boost use of recycled content, the company said.

Environmentalists who had pushed for the changes praised Disney’s decision as a major step to protect forests, the homes of animals that have inspired popular Disney characters in movies such as “The Lion King” and “The Jungle Book.”

Disney’s shift “will have a particularly important impact in Indonesia, the primary place where rainforests are still being cut down for pulp and paper,” Rebecca Tarbotton, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network.

Indonesia has some of the world’s most biologically diverse forests in the world and is home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger.

The Rainforest Action Network said it began pushing Disney to change its paper practices in 2010 when lab results found Disney children’s books were printed with rainforest fiber.

The new policy will apply first to paper sourced directly by Disney and later to independent licensees, the company said.

Disney will report annually on its progress.

Nine US publishers, including Bertlesmann unit Random House and Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, have adopted similar paper policies, the rainforest group said.

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