Asian Pulp & Paper Turns Over a New Leaf
By Simone Aliya
Many paper companies miss the forest for the trees––overlooking the big picture that is long-term sustainability. Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the third largest paper company in the world, has recognized the reality that protecting quality forests is an environmental, social, and business imperative.
After years of degrading Indonesia’s forests and creating social conflict, APP has established new Forest Conservation Policies and pledged to stop its suppliers from cutting down natural forests in Indonesia. Such policies may help preserve threatened habitats of rare animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released from carbon-rich peatland. It’s a promising move, and one which holds the potential to reform the industry as a whole.
APP has suspended all forest clearance during High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) area assessments. The company also outlines how it will change its relationship with not only the land, but also with indigenous and local communities. It plans, for example, to start a dialogue with these communities––to protect their rights, avoid conflict, and promote social welfare.
Greenpeace has suspended its damaging campaign against APP and has publicly recognized the company’s new commitments, while continuing to keep a close watch. Greenpeace representative Lafcadio Coresti outlines the standards APP must meet: “The company will need to develop, announce, and meet detailed implementation plans including performance targets, benchmarks, and timetables related to their environmental and social promises, and put in place transparent systems for independent monitoring, reporting, and verification.”
Investors and customers will be watching too. Long-term corporate success, especially in an increasingly resource-constrained world, requires responsible business practices. A “do-no-harm” company is attractive. A more progressive company, fully engaged with all of its stakeholders and the communities that it impacts is even more attractive.
We tip our hat to APP and to Greenpeace. And, like Greenpeace, we will be watching APP live up to its new conservation commitments.
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Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324761004578285492639219654.html
Posted: March 28, 2013