By Ian Lifshitz and Michael McManus
Recently, The Wall Street Journal held its annual ECO:nomics conference to discuss the most pressing environmental topics of our day. Asia Pulp and Paper was proud to be a part of this important discussion.
It's an age old argument and within many circles a traditional debate - old vs. new. As industries and products mature, they give us a fresh perspective on greater issues like sustainability. When technologies evolve, so do our ideas. In the energy sector, for example, the current debate is around the relatively new technology of solar power vs. the older technology of coal. This is part of a larger discussion and debate around fossil fuels versus clean energy. What was once a cutting edge idea soon becomes the standard.
For example, in the pulp and paper industry, the hot topic of the day is zero deforestation. Has zero deforestation, once a novel idea, now become the new standard? The timing makes sense as we evolve past simple concepts such as recycling and certification into broader aspects such like zero deforestation.
In the forestry business, like any other business, we must be open to positive change and constantly be innovating to achieve higher goals. It is time for zero deforestation to become the new norm.
Forest conservation policies like APP’s require companies like ours to take a holistic view of their global supply chain. It's about invoking major change globally. How effective would a global company be, for example, if they only eliminated coal from its supply chain in one country? Similarly, in the forest products world, only focusing on a narrow band of products or a handful of locations does not result in true sustainability. Good sustainability metrics, like zero deforestation, look at a supply chain from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
Change can be nerve wrecking, stressful and time consuming, but in the end, it can be extremely valuable on all levels.