TORONTO, Dec. 6 -- An environmental group
borrowed the tactics of Victoria's Secret -- using models wearing
little but angel wings -- to persuade the lingerie company Wednesday
not to print catalogues on paper manufactured from endangered forests
The agreement between Limited Brands, the parent
company of Victoria's Secret, and an activist group called ForestEthics
caps a high-profile campaign by environmentalists to move the catalogue
industry toward using recycled paper.
Limited Brands, which sends out more than 350 million Victoria's
Secret catalogues a year, promised to end purchases from an Alberta
pulp mill logging in Canada's boreal forest. The agreement came after
ForestEthics targeted the company's image with ads featuring
bustier-clothed models toting chain saws.
"We're hoping to raise
the bar on the availability of environmentally friendly paper and pulp,
and we're hoping the logging, pulp and paper industry will rise to the
occasion here," said Tom Katzenmeyer, a Limited Brand vice president,
according to the Reuters news agency.
The agreement follows
similar pledges made recently by Dell computer and Williams-Sonoma, the
home furnishings retailer, to increase the recycled content of their
catalogues and to steer paper purchases to companies logging in managed
forests, where planting exceeds cutting.
ForestEthics said the
catalogue industry uses less than 5 percent recycled paper. Companies
such as Victoria's Secret, the group said, were helping destroy the
boreal forest, an environmentally critical swath of green across the
northern reaches of North America, Russia and Scandinavia.
is an industry that is ripe for change and doing incredible
environmental damage," said Todd Paglia, executive director of
ForestEthics. Victoria's Secret is getting its slick catalogue paper
from West Fraser Timber Co., which cuts trees in the boreal forests of
Alberta and British Columbia, according to the group.
critical and endangered forests that West Fraser is destroying" through
clear-cutting practices that also disrupt caribou habitat, he said.
in Hinton, Alberta, the base for a major West Fraser pulp mill, Mayor
Glenn Taylor called the group's claims "categorically false."
don't clear-cut up here. And it's simply not true we are taking away
caribou habitat," said Taylor, who, like many in his town of 10,000,
works for West Fraser. "This group is not telling the truth. Our boreal
forest has actually grown," he said. "There is more boreal forest today
than 50 years ago."
Taylor said that there is a high demand for
the strong, bright paper pulp produced at Hinton and predicted that
other customers would replace Victoria's Secret.
company did not respond to inquiries, but the Forest Products
Association of Canada defended the environmental record of the logging
companies, saying ForestEthics was using "distorted information."
Canada's companies lead the world in practicing sustainability
techniques, and a U.N. report has declared Canada's deforestation rate
at zero, the association said in a statement.
"I wish those
things were actually true," Paglia responded. He said the company and
the province of Alberta have engaged in "complete mismanagement" of the
natural resources. And he said his group would soon begin targeting
other catalogue companies, including Lands' End, L.L.Bean and J.Crew,
to persuade them to move toward recycled paper.
"We are going to
provide all these companies with the option of doing it the easy way,"
Paglia said. "If they want to do it the hard way, we can see a
tremendous amount of negative press and damage to their brand."