Disney cuts ties with controversial suppliersThe Walt Disney Company recently announced that it will change its paper sourcing strategies immediately to take action against the controversial manufacturers it previously worked with. The announcement comes as a major victory for the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which has been vocal about Disney's sourcing practices. The corporation released a statement detailing its new sourcing strategies, meaning it will no longer do business with several large paper suppliers in Asia that engage in questionable environmental policies.

Disney has been in the controversial battle over its lack of strategic sourcing since RAN published a scathing report about the company's paper procurement several years ago. It was revealed that Disney obtained much of its paper from companies that have been criticized for endangering the Indonesian rainforest and contributing to the destruction of the habitat, which is reportedly declining at a rate of about 2.5 million acres each year. A new company policy revealed that the corporation will no longer source its paper from these suppliers and will seek alternative manufacturers to ensure it protects the environment.

A new strategy
The corporation released its new paper sourcing strategy, in which it makes a greater commitment to strategic sourcing and environmentally friendly policies. Its new policy stated that Disney will cut down on paper use overall, increase its purchasing of recycled paper and steer clear of paper that comes from at-risk forests.

"We commend Disney for adding its voice to the growing chorus of companies demonstrating that there's no need to sacrifice endangered forests or animals in Indonesia for the paper we use every day," said Rebecca Tarbotton, RAN's executive director. "This policy will have a particularly important impact in Indonesia, the primary place where rainforests are still being cut down for pulp and paper."

New policy far-reaching
Because Disney is an enormous global corporation, it will take time for the company to fully implement the new paper sourcing policies. Because of the complex structure of the business and its far-reaching brands, the plan will be put in place in two separate stages. The first stage will ensure Disney brand products and their packaging will be made with ethically sourced paper products, and the second stage will concern getting independent licensees to implement the program.

Disney is such a large company with so many departments and global operations, this new strategy will have a profound effect on the company's supply chain. The sourcing strategy doesn't just apply to books - it will also impact packaging on children's toys, napkins and menus on cruise ships, maps in theme parks, the pages in magazines, printed goods for networks like ABC and ESPN and even film studio products.

The new policy brings attention to the company's need for supply chain oversight and management.

"Transparency in the supply chain is very challenging," said Robin Averbeck, the force behind RAN's Disney focus, according to The Guardian. "The pulp comes from a forest to a paper mill to a broker to a supplier to Disney. When a company has Disney's enormous global reach, its arms are so long they often don't know what their hands are doing."

To better keep track of where its paper is coming from, Disney plans to carefully monitor its paper use. The company has pledged to develop a tracking system to ensure no at-risk rainforest woods are used to manufacture or package its products. According to Publisher's Weekly, this strategy includes random audits, fiber tests and verification processes. With these new systems in place, Disney can ensure consumers its products are more environmentally friendly.
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