Activists with Rainforest Action Network(RAN), costumed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, unfurled a 35-foot banner reading, "Disney: Destroying Indonesia's Rainforests" blocking The Walt Disney Company's two-storymain entrance at its Los Angeles headquarters. The group isprotesting the iconic company after lab results found that paperused in Disney's kids books contained fiber from endangeredIndonesian rainforests. "Disney is printing children's books with paper that is driving thedestruction of Indonesia's rainforests - said Robin Averbeck, of Rainforest Action Network- it is past time for Disney to catch up with its peers and adopt a policy thatguarantees tiger extinction and deforestation will no longer befound in kids' books or in any products the company sells. Of allcompanies, Disney should not be harming the earth's real magickingdoms.
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 itcomes to forest protection. RAN has found that its paper policy,released in March, fails to prevent controversial fiber andsuppliers 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, IntegratedPaper Services (IPS), to conduct tests on the fiber found inchildren's books published by the top ten U.S. publishers. Eight publishers, including Scholastic and Simon & Schuster, havesince committed to eliminating controversial fiber from theirsupply chains. Though RAN has been in discussion with Disney for over a year, the company remains behind those industryleaders.
"Disney's paper buying practices are driving some of the world'smost iconic rainforest creatures towards extinction, this is thedark side of Disney - said Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network's Forest Campaign Director - In fact, the very creaturesDisney features in its classic film 'The Jungle Book' arethreatened by the paper Disney's children's books are printedon."
Last week, international news sources reported the release offootage from motion detector cameras showing 12 of theestimated 400 critically endangered Sumatran tigers, includingmothers with their cubs, in Indonesian forests. These forests areunder imminent threat of being cleared by the pulp and paperindustry.
Indonesia's rainforests, home to unique species like theorangutan and the Sumatran tiger, are under severe threat frompaper companies that rely on clearing natural rainforests andpeatlands. The carbon emissions from this large-scaledeforestation has made Indonesia the world's third largestgreenhouse gas polluting country, behind only the U.S. andChina.
Rainforest Action Network is asking The Walt Disney Company toeliminate its use of controversial Indonesian fiber and publiclysever all financial ties with APP and APRIL and their affiliatesuntil key reforms are adopted. RAN is also asking Disney toimplement a comprehensive company-wide paper policy andrigorous due diligence procedures that ensure it is rainforest safe.