Victoria’s Secret goes green with catalogue, shuns endangered Canadian forest

December 6, 2006

VANCOUVER (CP) – The company that owns lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret says it will not buy wood pulp for its well-known catalogue from some areas of Western Canada.

The move is in response to an environmental campaign aimed at the catalogue industry in general and at Limited Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret.

Environmentalists have been aiming to get the industry to stop using paper made from endangered forests.

The main concern was a stretch of Canadian boreal forest in the Alberta foothills that is considered critical habitat for many species, including woodland caribou.

A section of British Columbia’s inland temperate rain forest is also affected by the retailer’s change of policy.

Limited Brands said it won’t buy from suppliers dealing with logging company West Fraser (TSX:WFT).

Tzeporah Berman, program director for ForestEthics, said the announcement has serious ramifications for Alberta and the Canadian forest industry as a whole.

Tom Katzenmeyer, senior vice-president, community and philanthropy for Limited Brands, said his company wants to ensure its paper consumption doesn’t contribute to the demise of endangered species.

Limited Brands has agreed to increase the content of post-consumer recycled waste in its catalogues.

“This is one of the largest paper buyers in the world,” Berman said.

“They don’t want any of their supply coming from caribou range across Canada.”

She said it’s a sign of things to come.

“The controversy over logging in the boreal, and specifically over logging in caribou habitat, is increasing internationally and companies in the United States simply don’t want to be associated with the destruction of forests that are as important as the Canadian boreal.”

She said ForestEthics waged a two-year campaign for Victoria’s Secret support, holding 750 protests across the United States.

“We ran targeted campaigns against both Staples and Office Depot. We won those campaigns.

“We’re calling on other companies to either meet or beat this policy.”

The Forest Products Association of Canada said ForestEthics has pressured Limited Brands into adopting a policy that discriminates against more than 300 forestry-dependent communities across Canada.

“It is unfortunate that ForestEthics has decided to present a very simplistic and biased version of the issue,” association president Avrim Lazar said in a news release.

“Their approach, while grounded in good values, is based upon distorted information.”

Avrim said association members are collaborating with environmental and conservation groups to protect and restore sensitive habitats and managing for endangered species where they exist.

Last month Limited Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio, announced it will pay $710 million to buy Montreal-based La Senza Corp., (TSX:LSZ), Canada’s leading lingerie designer and retailer, in a friendly takeover.

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