Over the past decade, the challenges faced by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) have been significant and demanding, but they have also served as a testament to the unwavering dedication and collaborative spirit of our workforce, the community, and our valued stakeholders.
Amid the accelerating impact of climate change, there is an urgent need for governments, companies, and consumers to prioritize the preservation of our planet by actively mitigating the effects of global warming. In this endeavor, consistent monitoring and transparent sharing of progress are equally crucial to ensure that we stay firmly on course and do not deviate from our commitment.
That is why APP believes in transparency and open communication with its stakeholders to ensure that it remains on track to achieving the various sustainability goals laid out in its Sustainability Roadmap Vision: 2030 (SRV2030).
After two years of conducting its annual forum exclusively in a virtual format, APP was delighted to finally host the 12th Stakeholder Advisory Forum (SAF) both in person and virtually over Zoom at the Pullman Jakarta Indonesia on the date of 25 July 2023.
Serving as an invaluable platform for constructive dialogue with nearly 250 stakeholders in attendance from in-person attendees in Jakarta and online viewers across Asia Pacific, this year's SAF not only facilitated the sharing of current updates on the progress with SRV2030, but also provided a unique opportunity to reflect on the challenges encountered during its sustainability journey over the past 10 years. Throughout this process, APP has demonstrated remarkable adaptability and growth, ensuring continual progress on its path towards environmental consciousness across all aspects of its operations.
To begin the forum, APP’s Managing Director, Bernard Tan, warmly welcomed the audience by highlighting the urgency for companies like APP to participate in the global movement towards a forest-positive future. He underscored the importance of their role in supporting suppliers to embrace change and contribute to a sustainable future.
Referencing the recent adoption of Motion 37 by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in October 2022, Bernard said, “This is indicative of a shift globally from being exclusive to being inclusive; from punishing companies to working with them; to bringing more and more of the world into the fold of responsible forest management. This change is important, for we all know that in spite of decades of effort, humanity continues to deforest at alarming rates. Taking a different approach may be just what the doctor ordered.”
Presenting the bulk of the updates within SRV2030, APP’s Head of Strategic Engagement & Advocacy, Letchumi Achanah, shared more about APP’s progress with sustainable production, forest conservation and protection, and community engagement. “As you might have heard, Southeast Asia is expected to face drier conditions this year, which raises the risk of dangerous forest fires and threatens the return of transboundary haze pollution.
In preparation for El Niño, we have almost doubled our resources in the past year. On average, we have spent about 30 million USD per year over the last 7 years” said Letchumi.
Following this, APP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Elim Sritaba, highlighted the importance of focusing on transitioning to cleaner energy in APP’s operations, saying, “Reducing carbon for a pulp & paper company is quite a different prospect compared to other industries. We also recognize that if a company like APP does not lead the change, then it may never happen. Hence, we will place a primary focus on decarbonization. Despite how daunting this task may be to us, we will not walk away from it.”
In line with the theme of this year’s SAF, “Resilience Through Adversity”, APP held two breakout sessions, “Community and Social” as well as “Ecosystem Restoration”, after the presentation to encourage open dialogue with its stakeholders. During this, APP received valuable feedback which will help in developing relevant solutions for the company to better serve its stakeholders, customers, and the environment.
Bringing the 12th Stakeholder Advisory Forum to a close, Elim thanked those in attendance for their support by adding, “I am continuously motivated by the progress we are making in advancing our sustainability plan. I am looking forward to seeing how we can build upon the momentum generated here today to achieve more milestones by 2030.”