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Greenpeace Book Campaign

Background - 7 August, 2006
Leading international authors such as JK Rowling, Ian Rankin, Günter Grass, Marlene Streeruwitz, Isabel Allende and Andrea De Carlo are just some of those working with Greenpeace to ensure that their future books are printed on 'ancient forest friendly' paper such as recycled and Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) certified paper.

The Boreal forest is an awe-inspiring and diverse wilderness of lakes, forests, rivers and marshes

Greening the publishing industry

The Greenpeace Book Campaign aims to 'green' the book publishing industry, who are currently printing the majority of their books on virgin (non-recycled) paper linked to ancient forest destruction in countries such as Finland and Canada.Book publishers are also printing children's and colour books in SouthEast Asia, which could be linked to rainforest destruction inIndonesia.

This campaign has already been very successful in Canada where Markets Initiative(a coalition project of Greenpeace Canada and other environmental groups) has worked with book publishers since 2000. Over 72 leadingCanadian publishers, including Random House Canada and Penguin Canadahave made formal commitments to use only ' Ancient Forest Friendly' book papers.

Since 2000:

  • 6 million books have been printed on recycled paper made from post consumer waste
  • 9 ancient forest friendly papers have been developed for the Canadian market
  • 45 leading Canadian authors have pledged to support the campaign including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Yann Martel and Alice Munro.
  • Even the Canadian edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix helped save muggle forests as it was printed on 100 percent post-consumer paper.

European publishers follow suit

European publishers are follow the green trend set in Canada. In theU.K., two of the top five publishers, Random House UK and Pearson (Penguin) have introduced new paper policies and Egmont, a major children's publisher has also followed suit. In Spain, fifteen titles and more than 700,000 books have been printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper and same has happen with over 130,000 books in Italy.

The biggest publisher in Germany, Random House Germany, is currently printing 85 percent of its books on FSC® certified paper and has committed to using FSC® paper for all their titles in 2006. Several new titles in France and Belgium have been printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper including the latest Harry Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' which was printed on FSC® certified paper.

Even JK Rowling's publishers have also embarked on greening Harry Potter. In 2003, Canadian publisher, 'Raincoast Books' started greening HarryPotter when it printed 'Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix' on 100 percent recycled paper, and repeated this initiative with 'HarryPotter and the Half-Blood Prince'. This move helped save over 67,000 trees. This trend is now being echoed by other publishers across the globe:

The German edition published by Carlsen is printed on 40 percent post-consumer recycled paper with the rest of the virgin fibre coming from Forest Stewardship Council™ certified sources. The FSC® is the only way you can ensure that the virgin fibre is coming from environmentally and socially responsible sources.

The French (Gallimard), Belgian (Gallimard) and U.K. (Bloomsbury) editions are printed on a FSC® certified paper and the Spanish (Editorial Salamandra) and Italian (Salani) editions are planned to be printed on the same paper - a positive first step by these publishing houses but it is hoped these publishers will move towards entirely ancient forest friendly papers for future Harry Potter print runs.

The Israeli published by Books in the Attic and Yediot Ahronot Books have made commitments to print the book on 100 percent recycled when it is published in December.

Losing our ancient forests

An area of ancient forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every two seconds. (That's 7000 m2; the FIFA cited average.)

A staggering 80 percent of world's original ancient forests have been destroyed or degraded. Much of what remains is under threat. Each year millions of hectares of ancient forest are logged, driven by international demand for cheap timber and other wood products including paper.

"We would never buy paper made from dead bears, otter, salmon and birds, from ruined native cultures, from destroyed species and destroyed lives, from ancient forests reduced to stumps and mud; but that's what we're buying when we buy paper made from old-growth clear-cut trees". - Margaret Atwood

Some of the forests most affected by our demand for paper are those in Canada, Russia and Finland. Canada's Boreal forest is the largest tract of ancient forest left in North America yet more than 45 percent of the Boreal forest has been allocated to logging companies to meet the national and international demand for paper.

The majority of bookpaper in Western Europe continues to be sourced from virgin pulp from countries like Finland, that contain some of the last fragments of old growth forest in Europe and from forests in Russia, where at least 50 percent of logging is estimated to be illegal. (Greenpeace Russia estimate, based on interviews with the State Forest Service, company specialists and experts, cited in Greenpeace (2003), ' Finnish forestry: destroying forests, destroying livelihoods'.)

Ancient forests and the animals and peoples that depend upon them, could be spared from needless logging destruction if paper products like books were sourced from 'Ancient Forest Friendly' alternatives.

Ancient Forest friendly paper

Ancient Forest Friendly papers  are free of ancient forest fibre and arepapers that maximise post consumer recycled content with any virgin fibre coming from FSC® certified sources.