Disney has adopted a wide-reaching new paper sourcing policy under which it will eliminate paper connected to the destruction of rainforests, particularly those in Indonesia where an estimated 2.5 million acres are destroyed by the paper and pulp industry every year.
Developed in close partnership with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the policy applies to every aspect of the giant company's direct operations – Disney media networks, theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, and all its product packaging, copy paper and book publishing.
Just as significant - Disney intends to require compliance from the more 3,700 licensees that use Disney characters and all of its supply chain partners as well. There are 25,000 factories in more than 100 countries that produce Disney products, including 10,000 in China.
“The paper policy is an example of how Disney conducts business in an environmentally and socially responsible way, and demonstrates the Company’s commitment to creating a lasting, positive impact on ecosystems and communities worldwide,” says Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Disney Corporate Citizenship, Environment and Conservation.
There are three components to Disney's strategy:
- Minimize paper consumption
- Eliminate paper products containing irresponsibly harvested fiber
- Maximize recycled content and fiber sourced from Forest Stewardship Council-certified operations
Disney will cease sourcing from Asia Pulp and Paper and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL), responsible for the lion's share of rainforest destruction in Indonesia, says RAN.
“Indonesia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world due, in part, to pulp and paper giants like Asia Pulp and Paper and APRIL," says Lafcadio Cortesi, Asia Director at RAN. Disney’s commitment will reduce the demand for paper made at the expense of rainforests while creating incentives for improved forest management and green growth.”
Indonesia boasts some of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests in the world and is home to iconic species like the Sumatran tiger, of which only 400 animals remain, and highly endangered orangutans.
For throwaway paper products, that biodiversity is being destroyed and in the process, the country has become the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, just behind China and the US. 2.5 million acres a year are clearcut, releasing more carbon than from all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the US combined.
The country signed a two-year moratorium on deforestation in May 2011, and the US pledged $600 million last December to help support the growth of green industries that would help reduce Indonesia's economic dependence on forestry.
Over the past several years, a growing list of major brands have dropped their contracts with Asia Pulp: toy makers Hasbro, Lego and Mattel, fashion giants Gucci, Tiffany and Levi Strauss, office supply stores Staples and Office Depot, and supermarket chain Krogers. A long list of publshers have signed on: Scholastic, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Pearson/Penguin, Candlewick Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan and Random House.
Disney's Worldwide Conservation Fund supports conservation programs in 112 countries, including more than 70 projects in Indonesia to protect the Sumatran rainforest and to manage critical forest habitats. Disney has also invested more than $27 million in forest carbon projects since 2009 in the US, Peru, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, and China.