Victoria's Secret launched its Angels Across America Tour last week despite a protest by environmental group Forest Ethics at the company's West 34th Street store in New York City.
The store was one of several possible locations for photo opportunities with models to mark the start of the tour, said Victoria's Secret spokesperson Anthony Hebron.
“We had thought the venue was going to be the store,” he said. “But the media wanted something else, so that's what we did.”
He added that the media's decision to go to the Gansevoort Hotel in Manhattan's Meatpacking District and to Teterboro (NJ) Airport — and not the store — had nothing to do with the protest.
The protesters — numbering 10 to 15 according to Forest Ethics while Hebron claimed seven — arrived at the store wearing lingerie, carrying foam chainsaws and a banner reading “Victoria's Secret: Their Catalogs Destroy Endangered Forests.” A Victoria's Secret spokesperson on site soon told the gathering audience on the street that the event had been canceled, said Kristi Chester Vance, director of communications for Forest Ethics, San Francisco.
Forest Ethics has targeted Victoria's Secret because it mails 1 million catalogs daily and uses less than 10 percent recycled paper in its catalogs, Chester Vance said. Also, Forest Ethics' research links the paper Victoria's Secret uses in its catalogs to an endangered forest in Canada.
Victoria's Secret buys its paper from International Paper, which previously has said it has a policy against using trees from endangered forests. International Paper claims that the area in Canada where it cuts down trees is designated an industrial zone by the Canadian government.
“We are a leader in terms of waste management reduction and office paper recycling,” said Hebron, who added that Victoria's Secret met with Forest Ethics representatives earlier this year and presented the company's environmental efforts.
In March, Forest Ethics accused six catalogers, including Victoria's Secret, of what it calls dirty practices. It aims to encourage these companies to drastically increase their use of recycled paper.