One of the world’s most respected publishers has become the latest subject of criticism by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
HarperCollins has been accused by the conservation group of using materials sourced from Indonesia’s endangered rainforests.
Reuters reports that independent forensic fibre tests commissioned by RAN show that some of HarperCollins’ children’s books were printed with rainforest fibre.
Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most biologically diverse forests and houses many endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger.
“No child or parent should become an unwitting participant in rainforest destruction this holiday season,” said RAN forest campaigner Robin Averbeck to Reuters.
Averbeck called on HarperCollins not to do business with Indonesian paper firms Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) and Asia Pulp and Paper Co Ltd (APP). APP has been accused by other environmental groups of destroying rainforests in the past.
Reuters notes that officials at APP declined to comment. Officials at HarperCollins and APRIL also did not respond to multiple telephone calls and emails from the news agency seeking comment.
APP and APRIL “are indeed the main culprits here and it’s good to be clear about that, but as they have not proven very responsive to direct pressure, we are forced to go after their customers to get them to take rainforest destruction seriously and HarperCollins is the sole major U.S. publisher remaining who has not made a firm commitment to stop doing business with them,” RAN spokesman Laurel Sutherlin said to Reuters.
“Most people have never heard of these companies and do not realize they are buying products produced by them, but they do recognize companies like Disney and HarperCollins who are supporting their destructive business practices by purchasing from them.”
Reuters reports that APP operates under the Sinar Mas brand, as does palm oil giant Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology. In the past, the company has been accused by Greenpeace of bulldozing high conservation value forests and damaging carbon-rich peatlands.