It has been nearly three years since 300 APP-China employees and stakeholders gathered in Hainan, an island located in the southernmost of China and in unison openly declared the group’s commitment and pledge to operating a sustainable and responsible business. Unfortunately, having only joined APP-China three months after the big day, I wasn’t there to witness the making of the Paper Contract with China Manifesto (PCwC) early in the game. I have, however, had the privilege and enjoyed the rare opportunity to be closely involved in the implementation and development of the PCwC here in China.
The Paper Contract with China Manifesto is APP-China’s public pledge to minimize our environmental footprint and to ensure that APP’s social and economic impact in China is resoundingly positive. It is the interpretation of the group’s corporate vision and mission – it is our aspirations and proposal for pragmatic solutions and roadmap for the paper industry to transform and upgrade itself.
Why would I say this? In China, as in many developing countries, paper-making is an energy and waste-intensive process that is traditionally regarded as a heavily polluting industry. With scarce and insufficient raw materials, how will the paper industry become a sustainable business? Addressing the serious issue of climate change, how will the paper industry change its notorious image to being eco-friendly? Providing a livelihood for tens of thousands, how will the paper industry be an integral part of local communities in harmony with economic, environmental and social development? These are the important questions we asked ourselves in the development of the PCwC.
Therefore, when we looked into areas and issues we needed to address to ensure a sustainable future, it was especially essential for the PCwC pledge to take into account sustainable plantation practices, cleaner production, reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, corporate social responsibility and community development. We have set tangible emission targets for benchmarking.
Since the publication of the PCwC in 2008, we have seen significant developments in every aspect. I have witnessed at one of our mills, Gold HuaSheng in Suzhou, that nearby fish in the Suzhou Creek would swim towards the direction of where the mill’s treated water was discharged because it is actually cleaner than the water of the Suzhou Creek.
In this blog, I will continue to share with you some of our work and achievements, our aspirations and pride. I am confident that we will realize the targets and high standards we set for ourselves through the various programs and initiatives we undertake locally and globally. I welcome you to join me to witness our commitment to holding up our end of the bargain.