Rainforest Action Network Finds Disney Tied to Forest Destruction and Endangered Tiger Loss

On May 18th, activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), costumed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, blocked the entrance to the Walt Disney Company’s headquarters as two other activists unfurled a 35-foot banner reading, “Disney: Destroying Indonesia’s Rainforests” on an archway above. The group is protesting the iconic company after lab results found that paper used in Disney’s kids books contained fiber from endangered Indonesian rainforests.

“Disney is printing children’s books with paper that is driving the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests,” said Robin Averbeck, Rainforest Action Network’s Forest Campaigner. “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. Of all companies, Disney should not be harming the earth’s real magic kingdoms.”

Disney is the largest publisher of children’s books in the world, producing over 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year. However, Disney has remained an industry laggard when it comes to forest protection. RAN has found that its paper policy, released in March, fails to prevent controversial fiber and suppliers like Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) and APRIL (Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper companies) from entering its products.

In March of 2010, RAN hired an independent lab, Integrated Paper Services (IPS), to conduct tests on the fiber found in children’s books published by the top ten U.S. publishers. Eight publishers, including Scholastic and Simon & Schuster, have since committed to eliminating controversial fiber from their supply chains. Though RAN has been in discussion with Disney about for over a year, the company remains behind those industry leaders.

“Disney’s paper buying practices are driving some of the world’s most iconic rainforest creatures towards extinction, this is the dark side of Disney,” said Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network’s Forest Campaign Director. “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.”

In May, international news sources reported the release of footage from motion detector cameras showing 12 of the estimated 400 critically endangered Sumatran tigers, including mothers with their cubs, in Indonesian forests. These forests are under imminent threat of being cleared by the pulp and paper industry.

Indonesia’s rainforests, home to unique species like the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, are under severe threat from paper companies that rely on clearing natural rainforests and peatlands. The carbon emissions from this large-scale deforestation has made Indonesia the world’s third largest greenhouse gas polluting country, behind only the U.S. and China.

Rainforest Action Network is asking The Walt Disney Company to eliminate its use of controversial Indonesian fiber and publicly sever all financial ties with APP and APRIL and their affiliates until key reforms are adopted. RAN is also asking Disney to implement a comprehensive company-wide paper policy and rigorous due diligence procedures that ensure it is rainforest safe.

For more information, please visit www.ran.org/disney.

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