What to Do About Books Linked to Rainforest Destruction
Looking to buy your kids some new books for Christmas? You may want to check out the publishing company’s environmental policies before you purchase.
Last week, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) accused HarperCollins publishing company of using fiber from Indonesia’s endangered rainforests for some of their children’s books, including one of their bestsellers, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas. RAN is calling on HarperCollins to boycott the Indonesian paper firms that supply them with these materials. But HarperCollins is firing back, saying that they stopped using the fiber last February. RAN however, doesn’t believe the publisher: “This is the second time that HarperCollins has claimed it has stopped using controversial Indonesian fiber,” says Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with RAN. “While RAN is encouraged by HarperCollins’ latest public statement, we see it as a statement of intention without the teeth of verification and transparency that a truly robust policy requires to credibly ensure controversial fiber is no longer entering its supply chains.” While RAN’s campaign just focused on the top ten U.S. children’s book publishers, it is also possible that other smaller publishers printing overseas may be using the fiber as well.
So what should you do if your daughter loves Fancy Nancy? RAN recommends contacting HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray to tell him you don’t want books linked to rainforest destruction. In addition, kids and parents can write to their favorite authors and urge them to advocate directly with HarperCollins. “I am sure that no author wants paper from rainforest destruction in their book, and authors, encouraged by their readers, can help by becoming internal advocates with HarperCollins,” Averbeck says. And if you aren’t sure what materials went into making a book by a smaller publishing company, you can ask publishers if they have an environmentally-friendly paper policy in place (and if they don’t, encourage them to adopt one!).
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