Limited Brands partners with ForestEthics on paper policy

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Environmental group ForestEthics held more than 750 protests in front of Victoria's Secret stores during the past two years, but behind closed doors representatives from the group were meeting with lingerie retailer's executives to work on changing its paper policies. Those efforts paid off Dec. 6.

Limited Brands, parent company to Victoria's Secret, announced a new paper policy that includes eliminating the use of pulp from Canada's Boreal Forest and British Columbia. Its main catalog will now contain either 10 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper or at least 10 percent Forest Stewardship Council certified content during 2007.

Victoria's Secret is also shifting to an overall catalog paper reduction through more efficient mailings. The company currently mails more than 350 million catalogs annually, down from the 360 million it mailed several years ago.

San Francisco-based ForestEthics "had to do what they had to do to get our attention," said Limited Brands spokesman Tom Katzenmeyer during a teleconference Dec. 6 to announce the new policy.

Limited Brands quickly decided to work with the group, even inviting executive director Todd Paglia to its annual shareholders meeting in 2004.

As a result, ForestEthics "helped us understand how to better work with our suppliers to get to a better place," Mr. Katzenmeyer said.

He said this is just a first step in the company's plans to enhance its forestry practices.

Limited Brands, Columbus, OH, also said Dec. 6 that it is committing to a preference for Forestry Stewardship Council certification and has partnered with one of its principal suppliers to shift four of its mills to Forestry Steward Council-certified content.

In addition, an independent third party will audit Victoria's Secret's progress on the issues of catalog paper and paper use. The results of these annual audits will be made public.

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