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RAN’s Disney Campaign is over

October 11, 2012 marks a victory for Indonesia’s rainforests and endangered forests around the globe.

Disney has announced a comprehensive paper policy that maximizes its use of environmentally superior papers like recycled and eliminates controversial sources like those connected to rainforest destruction. This policy applies to the company’s entire international operations, including thousands of licensees of Disney characters.

Disney’s policy and Indonesia’s rainforests

Indonesia’s rainforests are being destroyed at an estimated rate of 2.5 million acres each year. On Sumatra, an Indonesian island bigger than the state of California, two paper giants - Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) - are responsible for the lion’s share of this rainforest destruction. While only about 400 Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, APP and APRIL continue to destroy their remaining rainforest habitat for throwaway paper products.

Disney’s policy makes clear that rainforests are more valuable left standing than pulped for paper. This policy adds Disney to a growing list of companies that are turning away from deforestation in their supply chains and sending strong signals to APP, APRIL and others in the pulp and paper industry that they must institute major reforms that protect forests and address social conflict and human rights violations. Disney’s commitment increases global demand for environmentally and socially responsible paper and creates incentives for improved forest management and green growth in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The power of market pressure

In 2010, RAN engaged Disney along with the other top ten U.S. children’s book publishers, inspiring and pressuring them to eliminate rainforest destruction from the paper they used. By November 2010, eight publishers had committed to eliminate controversial Indonesian fiber from their supply chains. Disney and Harper Collins, however, had not.

After lab tests revealed fiber from rainforest destruction in Disney children’s books, RAN launched a public campaign with a high profile direct action at Disney Studios in Los Angeles. The action focused Disney’s attention and the company responded immediately. Disney and RAN entered into high-level negotiations, which lasted for more than a year and resulted in the announcement of its global paper policy.

Scope of Disney’s Policy

Disney’s policy covers all Disney products produced in any of nearly 25,000 factories in more than 100 countries, including 10,000 in China alone. Disney is the largest brand licensor in the world, the largest publisher of children’s books and magazines and the largest operator of theme parks in the world. Because of Disney’s vast reach and the diversity of paper products it uses, Disney’s policy has the potential to influence the way paper is produced worldwide.

Disney’s commitment to reduce emissions from rainforest destruction

Indonesia has some of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests in the world. It is now ranked third in greenhouse gas emissions, just behind China and the United States, primarily due to rampant deforestation. An astonishing 80% percent of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation. Disney’s policy explicitly avoids high carbon forests and landscapes because of their huge contribution to climate change.

Disney’s recognition of the rights of forest-dependent peoples

Deforestation for paper is a significant driver of social conflict and human rights abuses in Indonesia and around the world. According to the World Bank, an estimated 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods to varying degrees, of which 60-200 million are Indigenous Peoples. Disney’s policy unambiguously commits it and its suppliers to respecting and upholding the rights and livelihoods of forest dependent peoples and Indigenous Peoples.