* RAN urges HarperCollins avoid Asia Pulp & Paper Co
* Conservationists says publisher lags peers like Disney
* Indonesia under pressure to reduce deforestation
By Michael Taylor
JAKARTA, Dec 13 HarperCollins, a division of
News Corp, has been accused by a conservation group of
using materials sourced from Indonesia's endangered rainforests.
Independent forensic fiber tests commissioned by the
Rainforest Action Network (RAN), showed that some of
HarperCollins' children's books were printed with rainforest
Indonesia has some of the world's most biologically diverse
forests and is home to endangered species such as the Sumatran
"No child or parent should become an unwitting participant
in rainforest destruction this holiday season," said Robin
Averbeck, a forest campaigner at RAN.
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 green groups of destroying
Officials at APP declined to comment. Officials at
HarperCollins and APRIL did not respond to multiple telephone
calls and emails from Reuters seeking comment.
APP and APRIL "are indeed the main culprits here and its
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.
"Most people have never heard of these companies and do not
realize they are buying products produced by them, but they do
recognise companies like Disney and HarperCollins who are
supporting their destructive business practices by purchasing
APP operates under the Sinar Mas brand, as does palm oil
giant Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology, which has
in the past been accused by Greenpeace of bulldozing high
conservation value forests and damaging carbon-rich peatlands.
APRIL in October disputed many of the accusations against it
said it does not source illegally harvested wood and does not
source wood from high conservation value forests.
The Rainforest Action Network said HarperCollins lagged
other U.S. publishers like Walt Disney Co, the world's
biggest publisher of children's books, when it came to
instituting corporate programmes to help protect the world's
In October, Disney changed its purchasing policies to reduce
paper use and avoid paper harvested from endangered forests.
Indonesia is seen as a key player in the fight against
climate change and is under intense international pressure to
curb deforestation and the destruction of carbon-rich peatlands.
Last year, Greenpeace said it had evidence that Barbie doll
packaging came from Indonesian rainforests, accusing toy
manufacturers such as Mattel Inc and Walt Disney of
contributing to Indonesia's deforestation.
Forests in the archipelago have also come under threat from
the expanding palm oil industry in recent years, which green
groups also blame for deforestation, speeding up climate change
and destroying wildlife.
Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, used
mainly as an ingredient in food such as biscuits and ice cream
and as a biofuel.
To improve its green credentials, Indonesia signed a
two-year forest moratorium in May last year, although critics
say breaches still occur.