A recent report released by WWF in Germany shows that a good number of children's books were manufactured with paper coming from deforestation in Indonesia, home to Critically Endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. On the other side of the ocean, in the United States, a similar research done by Rainforest Action Network (RAN revealed the same paper in the books of Fancy Nancy, published by HarperCollins.
In both cases, in Europe and in the United States, independent forensic fiber tests revealed significant quantities of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) and acacia fiber in the paper of the books.
Mixed Tropical Hardwood is the technical definition for the pulp (and the paper) produced by clear-cutting a natural tropical forest, and reducing it is chips to produce paper.
The WWF-Germany survey of children's books found about 30 per cent of books contained significant amounts of mixed tropical hardwood fibres characteristic of natural forest destruction. A 2009 children's book survey found mixed tropical hardwood fibres in 40% of German children's books from one third of the publishing houses sampled. "Germany's publishers have been amazingly slow to react despite the highlighting of their involvement in forest destruction in 2009" said Emmanuelle Neyroumande, of WWF.
"No child or parent should become an unwitting participant in rainforest destruction this holiday season" notes Robin Averbeck, forest campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. Yet, among the books identified by the WWF in Germany as linked to the deforestation, is a beautiful picture on rain-forests ... so realistic as to contain crashed rain forests in its pages!
China, where many children books are printed, is among major importers of cheap pulp and paper from Indonesia, where the paper industry, dominated by two large companies, is systematically plundering the natural forests.
Accoding to WWF, Indonesia's largest pulp and paper company, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), linked with its suppliers to the destruction of more than 2 million hectares of tropical forest in Sumatra, directly operates 20 pulp and paper mills in China with an annual production of eight million tonnes.