27.04.2016 |
Michael M.
Innovative Conversation on Deforestation

I recently was proud to represent Asia Pulp and Paper as an attendee and speaker at the Innovation Forum conference in Washington DC. The meeting focused on efforts around tackling deforestation.

The nation's capitol was a perfect backdrop for such an important topic - the get together coincided with the blooming of DC's famous cherry blossom trees - a gift from Japan when the capitol was still a small city representing a new country.

The discussions included companies, researchers and NGO's alike and conversations centered on deforestation and what to do about it. I was honored to share the stage with Christine Riley Miller, senior director, corporate social responsibility, Dunkin' Brands; Corey Brinkema, president, Forest Stewardship Council and Thomas Mitchell, managing director, Cambridge Associates. Our talk, moderated by Mongabay.comfounder Rhett Butler, centered aroundcommunicating our stories of sustainability -- both the victories as well as challenges.

It was truly a unique opportunity to share ideas and best practices around not only efforts to be zero-deforestation free, but also to reforest areas as well. It was exciting to describe Asia Pulp and Paper's two major restoration projects concurrently ongoing - one, Belantara is a million hectare forest protection effort which APP is incubating, underwriting and launching. The other is a peatland restoration effortwhich entails flooding thousands of hectares of peatland, to eventually restore it to the nutrient-rich, carbon-eating terra-firma.

Others on the panel talked about their own unique efforts in protecting forests -- It was through that part of the discussion that we all shared the importance of collaboration. - be it through their own efforts, a corporate partner, a government agency or NGO. Working together and in tandem with one another was a key agreement - nobody can go it alone on such critical sustainability efforts –especially on a global scale.

As we all know, you can't be successful without failing a time or two. Though many at the conference had plenty of both to discuss, it sure was more fun talking about the successes!

 

Michael McManus

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