When news broke that a group of environmentalists from California
was protesting the use of virgin paper for Victoria's Secret catalogs,
most people probably thought it would be another case of an extremist
group being ignored by corporate America.
didn't view the two-year campaign by ForestEthics as an annoyance,
however. They listened to the complaints and in December Limited
Brands--the parent company of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body
Works, among others--announced it would stop buying paper produced from
trees in vulnerable forests. Now a significant portion of the 350
million catalogs Victoria's Secret prints each year--mostly the
clearance catalogs--will be produced with recycled paper. (Its glossy
high-end ones can't be run on recycled paper without causing high costs
or printing problems.)
Victoria's Secret was targeted because of
its potential to set an example for other catalog makers, says
ForestEthics spokesman Tom O'Leary. "There are a lot of companies that
mail a lot of catalogs," he says,"but with Victoria's Secret their
catalog is iconic to their brand."
"I respect the way they
conducted their campaign, which led to our partnership with them," says
Tom Katzenmeyer, senior vice president at Limited Brands. He says
ForestEthics educated executives sbout the damage being caused to
certain forests.In fact, Limited Brands has committed $1 million
for research on recycling, and it's trying to persuade its industry to
adopt practices that would reduce the number of trees being cut down.
The company also is pursuing other green strategies. It developed
reusable cartons for moving merchandise, switched to energy-efficient
store lighting, and increased the use of rail over trucks for shipping.
In October 2006, the U.S. EPA gave Limited Brands an award for its