PARIS — Luxury shopping — recently tainted with guilt issues related to the economic crisis — should not be marred by worries that paper shopping bags are destroying valuable rainforests.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

To that end, Gucci Group said Tuesday it was joining forces with Rainforest Action Network, a San Francisco-based environmental group, to eliminate paper made from Indonesian rainforests and other controversial suppliers.

“Standing rainforests are not a luxury, they’re a necessity if the world wants to stop climate change,” stated Mimma Viglezio, Gucci Group’s executive vice president of global communications.

The paper policy compels all the group’s brands — from Balenciaga to Yves Saint Laurent — to reduce paper use, eliminate those containing fibers from forests of high conservation value and to purchase recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, all by December 2010.

The Rainforest Action Network has been campaigning companies to sever ties with suppliers like Asia Pulp and Paper, charging them with actively destroying Indonesia’s rainforests. According to the network, Tiffany & Co. and Hennes & Mauritz are among fashion companies taking efforts to “clean” their paper supply chains, from what goes into photocopiers to cash-wrap materials.

Loss of forests is blamed for about 20 percent of greenhouse emissions, with deforestation in Indonesia blamed for a carbon footprint greater than all the trains, planes and automobiles in the United States.

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