Teguh Ganda Wijaya, Chairman of Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP), has signed the New York Declaration on Forests at an event at the UN Climate Summit 2014, joining a number of other companies, governments and NGOs. The declaration is an international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change.

All signatories of the Declaration have committed to a vision of slowing, halting and reversing global forest loss, while simultaneously contributing to economic growth, poverty alleviation, rule of law, food security, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.

The declaration, which was formalized at an event hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, highlights that reducing emissions from deforestation and increasing forest restoration are key to tackling climate change. Partners are called on to work together to:

  • At least halve the loss rate of natural forests globally by 2020 and strive to end natural forest loss by 2030
  • Restore 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2020 and significantly increase the rate of global restoration thereafter, which would restore at least an additional 200 million hectares by 2030
  • The full list of commitments have the collective target of achieving a reduction in emissions between 4.5-8.8 billion tons per year by 2030

Said Wijaya, ‘United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has done the planet and some of its most critical ecosystems a great service in convening this groundbreaking meeting. Business can take the lead in delivering these commitments, but we must work closely with all stakeholders including governments and NGOs to truly tackle deforestation and climate change. One of the most effective ways to do this is by conserving forests, planting trees and protecting the natural forest that surrounds.

‘At APP we also believe that forest-based products can help in this regard because they retain carbon, are recyclable, and when sourced from responsibly managed plantations, are often more sustainable than the alternatives.’

Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability, adds, ‘We have shown through our own Zero Deforestation policies that ambitious targets to protect the world’s remaining forests can be agreed, implemented and achieved by companies operating in emerging economies. Our view is that wherever a company is involved in the forest supply chain, they should be implementing these policies immediately. There is no time to waste.’

APP announced its Forest Conservation Policy and zero deforestation commitment in February 2013 and throughout the last 18 months has been working successfully to implement this policy. Earlier this year, the company made a further commitment to support the protection and restoration of one million hectares of tropical rainforest landscapes in Indonesia, one of the most ambitious conservation commitments ever made by a private company.

Written for: Labels and Labeling Magazine

September 2014

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