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Victory for Forests: Disney Stands Up for Endangered Forests and Animals

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Today, Disney adds its significant voice to the growing chorus of companies demonstrating that there's no need to sacrifice endangered forests in Indonesia or elsewhere for the paper we use every day. This entertainment giant, which is the world's biggest publisher of children's books and magazines, has adopted what may be one of the most far-reaching paper policies ever, including groundbreaking safeguards for the climate and human rights.

Full disclosure: Rainforest Action Network began working with Disney in 2010 after lab tests found that its children's books were printed with rainforest fiber from Indonesia. This policy is the culmination of two years of conversations with Disney executives.

In practical terms, this significant new paper policy means that Disney will be eliminating paper connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals from its extensive operations and those of its licensees. It applies to both the way Disney sources and uses paper, reaching every corner of the company's business. The policy covers everything from the pages of a Marvel comic book in New York and the copy paper at ABC's headquarters in LA to the packaging of a Mickey doll sold in Moscow.

In the 21st century it is indefensible that any paper still comes from endangered rainforests. And yet, in places like Indonesia, which has one of the most biologically and culturally diverse forests in the world, the pulping of trees for paper is a part of why the country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Conservatively, an estimated 2.5 million acres of rainforest are lost in Indonesia per year.

Thanks to this policy, Disney will be joining the growing list of major brands that have cut ties to notorious Indonesian rainforest destroyers and paper giants Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL). 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.

So, just how big is this announcement? For a bit of perspective, consider that Disney products are produced in almost 25,000 factories worldwide -- 10,000 in China alone. Disney owns a vast media empire, including media networks such as ABC and ESPN alongside studios including Pixar and Touchstone, and is the largest licensor of toys and the largest operator of theme parks in the world. All that takes a LOT of paper -- none of which can be connected to the destruction of endangered forests and animals in Indonesia or elsewhere.

What excites me most about Disney's commitment is its depth, affirming that the company will avoid not only tropical deforestation, but also go above and beyond to protect human rights and to recognize the high carbon value of rainforests -- two things rarely seen in policies of this kind.

Join me in thanking Disney for taking this stand. It is time every company acknowledge that rainforests are more valuable left standing than being pulped for paper!

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