Disney revamps paper buying to protect rainforests

Oct 11 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co , the world'sbiggest publisher of children's books, said on Thursday itchanged its purchasing policies to reduce paper use and avoidpaper harvested from endangered forests.

The new policy aims to eliminate paper made with"irresponsibly harvested fiber" and maximize use of productsthat come from areas approved by the Forest Stewardship Council,Disney said in a statement. It follows similar moves by othermajor publishers.

Disney's guidelines also are meant to minimize paperconsumption and boost use of recycled content, the company said.

Environmentalists who had pushed for the changes praisedDisney's decision as a major step to protect forests, the homesof animals that have inspired popular Disney characters inmovies such as "The Lion King" and "The Jungle Book."

Disney's shift "will have a particularly important impact inIndonesia, the primary place where rainforests are still beingcut down for pulp and paper," Rebecca Tarbotton, executivedirector of the Rainforest Action Network.

Indonesia has some of the world's most biologically diverseforests in the world and is home to endangered species such asthe Sumatran tiger.

The Rainforest Action Network said it began pushing Disneyto change its paper practices in 2010 when lab results foundDisney children's books were printed with rainforest fiber.

The new policy will apply first to paper sourced directly byDisney and later to independent licensees, the company said.Disney will report annually on its progress.

Nine U.S. publishers, including Bertlesmann unitRandom House and Pearson Plc's Penguin group, haveadopted similar paper policies, the rainforest group said.

(Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by M.D. Golan)

((lisa.richwine@thomsonreuters.com)(1 213 955 6776)(Follow meon Twitter @LARichwine))