HarperCollins is challenging the methodology behind the newest advisory from the Rainforest Action Network that some of its children’s books contain paper harvested from vulnerable Indonesian rainforests. According to RAN, a test conducted in November of seven HC titles found three with “significant” quantities of acacia fiber that is mainly sourced from Indonesian rainforest and trace amounts in “several” others. At least one of those books, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas, was printed before February 2012 when, according to HC, they began sourcing paper from certified mills.
RAN officials acknowledged that its tests of Fancy Nancy could have been on a book not produced by new paper sources. Still said RAN’s Robin Averbeck, "the fact that acacia was found in several other books raises questions about what they mean when they say they switched paper sources and points to a high likelihood that they are still sourcing from [paper companies] APP and/or APRIL and affiliates." But the deeper problem is that RAN has been largely unable to engage with HC about its paper policies. A HC spokesperson acknowledged that HC has not answered RAN’s questionnaire about its paper policy, but added that RAN has refused to provide HC with details about their new test results. “We have requested information from RAN including the results of their testing and they have refused to share the information which would help us address their issues,” HC said in a statement. “ We call on RAN to share its data and findings with us so we can address any anomalies in our supply chain if they exist and we are instituting a testing regime with an independent lab to ensure our that our books are meeting our policy goals.”
Averbeck acknowledged that RAN has not shared its newest test results with HC, but says that is because it has had little feedback from HC in almost two years of reaching out to the company. She said RAN would share its results with HC if it can meet with decision-makers at HC who can discuss and make changes to its paper policy, due diligence procedures, and commitments to eliminate controversial Indonesian fiber and suppliers. An HC spokesperson said the company stands by its assertion that its "fiber policy clearly states that we have eliminated the use of Indonesian fiber."
RAN has had great success in convincing publishers to move their paper sourcing away from Indonesian rainforest and in particular two companies, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL). A HC spokesperson said APP and APRIL” are not in our supply chain.” HC is the only one of 10 major children's trade houses whose paper policy has been supported by RAN. In October, prodded by RAN, the Walt Disney Company not only changed its paper policy for its book companies, but overhauled the sourcing of paper products for the entire company.