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Harry Potter to Make Fewer Trees Disappear in His Final Appearance

Publisher to print final Harry Potter book on forest friendly paper

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Harry Potter fans still may not know if their favorite characters will survive the pen of author J.K. Rowling in the final volume of the seven-book series, but at least the Forbidden Forest and whomping willows will be safe from the publisher’s axe.

Scholastic, Inc., U.S. publisher for the popular novels about the boy wizard who battles the forces of evil while attending Hogwarts Academy, worked with the Rainforest Alliance to develop a plan to print the newest Harry Potter novel on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Harry Potter Goes Green with Final Volume
The first U.S. printing for the 784-page Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be a record-breaking 12 million volumes. The book is scheduled to be published in July 2007.

Details of Scholastic’s environmental commitment for the new Harry Potter book include:

  • At least 65 percent of the 16,700 tons of paper used for the first printing will be FSC-certified, which means the paper comes from forests that are managed in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
  • Totaling nearly 22 million pounds, this is the largest purchase of FSC-certified paper ever to be used in a single book printing.
  • All of the paper used in the printing will contain at least 30 percent post-consumer waste fiber, with much of that verified by FSC standards as well.
  • A deluxe edition of the new book, with a first printing of 100,000, will be printed on paper that contains 100 percent post-consumer waste fiber.
"This is a major milestone for environmental and social responsibility in the publishing industry," said Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance. "Using wood products from well-managed forests has a great global impact in conserving biodiversity and improving livelihoods in local communities."

U.S. Harry Potter Publisher Changes Course on Eco-Friendly Printing
Although Scholastic has used recycled paper for many of its books in the past, the publisher drew fire from some environmental groups in 2005 when it published Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the Harry Potter series. Greenpeace, in particular, complained Scholastic wasn’t using enough recycled paper and urged consumers to boycott Scholastic and to purchase the novel from Raincoast Books, J.K. Rowling’s Canadian publisher, which printed the Canadian edition of the book on recycled paper.

At the time, Greenpeace said that Scholastic could have saved 217,475 mature trees by printing the 10.8 million copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on recycled paper.

The bad publicity didn’t appear to slow Scholastic’s sales—the sixth Harry Potter novel sold 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours—but the publisher obviously took the environmental concerns to heart and worked with the Rainforest Alliance to secure enough FSC-certified paper for the massive first printing of the final novel in the series.

After Scholastic announced its plan to use FSC-certified paper for the final Harry Potter novel, Greenpeace issued a statement praising the decision and making the point that in "Europe and Canada, the past several editions of the Harry Potter series have been printed on forest friendly paper, per the wishes of J.K. Rowling."

The Growth of FSC Certification
According to the Rainforest Alliance, the amount of FSC-certified forestland has “skyrocketed” over the past few years. Globally, more than 215 million acres (87 million hectares) were FSC-certified in 2006, up from more than 118 million acres (48 million hectares) in 2004. As a result, there has been significant growth in the global supply of FSC-certified paper and other wood products. In addition, several hundred pulp providers, mills, merchants and printers around the world have obtained FSC certification, which has increased the availability of certified products to consumers.

"We applaud Scholastic's progressive and bold commitment to support responsible forestry practices by buying FSC-certified and recycled papers," said Liza Murphy, senior marketing manager in the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable forestry program. "We hope that other businesses follow this lead by making commitments to using wood products that come from forests that are managed to be productive, protect soils and waterways, and benefit local communities."

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