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Ten years ago, Canada and most of the world’s publishing industry printed on paper made from old growth trees. As entrepreneur Nicole Rycroft stood surrounded by the Clayoquot Sound old forest in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia, she couldn’t understand why.

“Knowing that 800-year-old trees were disappearing into Jackie Collins novels or photocopy paper, it seems ludicrous to me,” says Rycroft. "If you’ve been to a clear cut, it feels like you’ve been to the moon. It really feels like an act of violence. "

It turns out that the reason was economics: recycled paper was more expensive and the demand for it was low. Rycroft decided that increasing demand was something she could effect, starting with author and publisher endorsements for the cause. One of her earliest successes was gaining author JK Rowling's endorsement.

“There’s the bible and Harry Potter. You don’t get many books that are larger than those two titles. We approached [Rowling] when we were working with Raincoast Books on the fifth edition of [Harry Potter]. She provided a personalized quote that appeared just in the Canadian edition of that book. JK Rowling is shy of doing a lot of media, so having that personalized statement was quite a coup.”

Thus began a revolution in the paper that Canadian book publishers use, changing the entire supply chain and leading to over 700 of the world’s largest paper consumers committing to protect old growth forests, publishing and certifying where the pulp and paper for their books, newspapers and magazines comes from. Today, in any bookstore across Canada there are thousands of individual titles to choose from that are printed on environmental paper.

“The forest at Hogwarts is home to magical creatures like unicorns and centaurs. Because the Canadian editions are printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper, the Harry Potter books are helping to save magnificent forests in the Muggle world, home of magical animals such as orangutans, wolves and bears. It is a good idea to respect ancient trees, especially if they have a temper like the Whomping Willow.”

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