Top Children’s Book Publishers Using Paper Linked to Rainforest Destruction

We have tons of books in our house.  The girls bookshelves are overflowing with books, literally.  Baby board books, library books (that I usually return LATE), tons of passed along, free books, and gift books.  And then there are my books.  Let’s just say when I got this email about some book publishers using rainforest pulp to make their books, it got my attention.  The sad irony here is that many of us are trying to teach environmental responsibility and awareness through books, and some of those very books could be causing rainforest destruction.  Here is some information sent to me about this from the Rainforest Action Network, a rainforest safe reading list, and what we can do about this problem.  

America’s children’s books are contributing to the destruction of endangered rainforests in Indonesia, according to a new report released today by Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The report, entitled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction; Children’s Books and the Future of Indonesia’s Rainforests, finds that a majority of the top ten U.S. children’s publishers have released at least one children’s book that tested positive for paper fiber linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests, including some books that describe the benefits of rainforest conservation.

“Considering that many publishers have already made public commitments to reduce their environmental footprint, we were surprised by the industry-wide scope of the problem,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “We don’t think that kids and their parents want to choose between loving books and protecting the rainforest.”

RAN had 30 colored children’s books tested for fiber associated with deforestation in Indonesia and found that 18 of the 30 books (60 percent) contained controversial fiber. RAN’s tests point to a growing industry trend toward the overseas printing of children’s books, as well as other glossy paper books like coffee table books and textbooks, on fiber that is from controversial and endangered sources.

“There are clear, workable alternatives to printing on paper that destroys the world’s last remaining rainforests,” continued Cortesi. “The publishing industry shouldn’t tolerate printing even one book that contributes to rainforest destruction, species extinction and climate change. ”

Worldwide, the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for fifteen percent of all annual greenhouse emissions. The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia’s rapid deforestation account for up to five percent of global emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in United States. This huge carbon footprint from the destruction of forests and peatlands has made non-industrialized Indonesia the third-largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind only the U.S. and China.

Thankfully, here you will find a rainforest safe summer reading list.  All books are printed on post-consumer recycled, FSC certified or recycled paper, allowing parents the assurance of knowing that their childrens’ books are not contributing to the loss of Indonesia’s or other endangered rainforests. Some of the titles include:

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
SpongeBob to the Rescue! By Alison Inches
Bunny’s Garden (Pat the Bunny) by Golden Books
Nature Discovery in My Backyard by Rebecca Mattano

Green Mama Activism:  Help us tell America’s publishing industry that books must not contribute to rainforest destruction. Sign a letter to the publishing industry here. 

Additional information on Indonesia’s rainforests can be found at

One Response to Top Children’s Book Publishers Using Paper Linked to Rainforest Destruction

  1. Renee June 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Our kids are 4 and 7 years old and we also have way more books than toys in our house. I have recently started to make books for them through Heritage Makers. I only wish that I had found out about this company when they were younger. I love being able to customize any of the templates that are in the gallery and modify them to suit my kids. These books help to build their self-esteem and reasure them who is important in thier lives. Here is an example of one that I have done.… For more information check out The company is also very concerned with the environment and continually look for ways that they can help to improve the world around us. They print on SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) Certified Paper, which is an organization that promotes responsible forest management. The company stands for a lot of the things that I believe are important in life; strengthening families, bringing toegther generations, teaching children, and the envirenment.

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