Proving that the Pen is Mightier than the Chainsaw


“Human beings require oxygen and forests produce it; printed books require paper but paper need not be made from virgin forests.” –Margaret Atwood

Through their vision and artistry, authors can take us on journeys of the imagination – to other realms, other worlds, other times.

Through their actions, authors can help transform the reality of the world around us.

Some of Canopy’s most visionary champions are the authors who have boldly carved new paths into uncharted territory, allowing their books to be the proving ground for solutions that can avert the loss of our world’s ancient forests.

Their actions bear witness to the impact one person can have, and how the ripples of that impact can spread through business sectors and into the wider world. It is Canopy’s sincere hope that more artists and creative people from all quarters will follow these examples.

In 2001, now Nobel Laureate Alice Munro stopped the presses on her book Hateship, Courtship, Friendship, Loveship, Marriage after learning from Canopy that it was being printed on virgin paper from old-growth forests and the impact that would have on species, ecosystems and the climate. Munro called her publisher and ultimately, the novel became the first title by a prominent author to be printed on 100 percent recycled, Ancient Forest Friendly™ paper.

J.K. Rowling worked with Canopy and Raincoast Books to ensure the Canadian edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was printed on recycled Ancient Forest Friendly paper.  This one decision meant Raincoast was able to save more than 39,320 trees and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving a car 3.3. million miles.

Canopy’s Nicole Rycroft pictured with J.K. Rowling after a successful campaign made Deathly Hallows the greenest book in publishing history
Canopy’s Nicole Rycroft pictured with J.K. Rowling after a successful campaign made Deathly Hallows the greenest book in publishing history.

Rowling then supported our efforts to take that sustainability standard beyond Canada’s borders. First, with the publishing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which was printed on ecopapers in nine nations including the UK, Germany, France and Isreal.

Ultimately, the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was printed on forest-friendly paper in 23 countries and in at least 8 languages. At the time, it was the greenest book in publishing history, thanks to the vision and commitment of an author and her ability to imagine a better future for the world’s whomping willows.

World-renowned author Margaret Atwood got behind Canopy’s vision for Second Harvest, working with our team and her publisher, McClelland & Stewart, to produce a special edition of “In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination” on paper made with straw and recycled content. It was the first of its kind in North America, breaking new ground in the publishing world and proving the viability of paper made entirely from straw left over after the grain harvest.

As “Life of Pi” hit the international best-seller charts, and the film won an Oscar™, author Yann Martel worked with Canopy on a special, limited edition made entirely of wheat straw and post-consumer recycled paper. A few copies are still available and all proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to support Canopy’s ongoing forest conservation work.

Alice Munro stepped up, once again, to support forest conservation and allow production of her novel, “Dear Life” on wheat straw and recycled paper. When the book won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the signed Canopy wheat straw edition truly became a collector’s item, a few copies of which are still available with proceeds supporting Canopy’s continued work to bring innovation and solutions to the fore.

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