"Asia Pulp & Paper: sustainability strategy in a changing global landscape" by Lee Henderson

Past Event

02 May 2014, 5:15pm - 6:45pm

School of Geography and Environment
South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY

This seminar is hosted by the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, an Oxford Martin School Centre


  • Lee Henderson, Manager of European Sustainability and Stakeholder Outreach, Asia Pulp and Paper
  • Dr Liz Wilks, Director of European Sustainability and Stakeholder Outreach, Asia Pulp and Paper

About the Seminar: Forestry – and in particular tropical forestry – is a subject riven with competing interests. It is at once an enormously valuable global resource in the fight against climate change – a climate regulator in its own right; it is an immensely valuable natural resource in commercial terms and therefore subject to all the competing demands this brings with it; it is a habitat for people and wildlife; it is nature’s pharmacy, containing uncountable and many as yet unknown chemical solutions to human problems.

Small wonder that it is under threat from so many counteractive pushes and pulls. Global deforestation has become a global issue, a subject of major concern to governments, NGOs, businesses, and communities.

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is one of the largest pulp and paper producers in the world. With a turnover of $15 billion, over 100,000 employees in Indonesia and China, and an estate covering 2.6m hectares (about the size of Wales) it is a vast enterprise – and one wholly dependent on the natural resource provided by a tropical forest climate and landscape. The company was targeted for its environmental and sustainability failings by many ENGO’s and civil society groups over the past fifteen years. It was delisted as a supplier by a great many US and European brand owning businesses. Then, just over a year ago, APP announced to a largely astonished – and sometimes cynical – world that it was putting a complete end to natural forest harvesting, and would become totally reliant on plantations for its raw material throughout its entire supply chain.

Today’s talk explains the background to this radical change – the motivations for it, the complexities of making it happen, and progress in the 14 months or so since it was announced. It tells the story of how a company is managing its evolution through a combination of technology, education, culture shift, legal compliance, and voluntary action to move from being an environmental pariah to becoming one of the foremost practitioners of a truly sustainable business model.

We will look at the forestry management issues faced in developing countries such as land grab, illegal logging, overlapping licenses, the protection of wildlife, bribery and corruption, human rights and social factors such as employee welfare, and medical assistance. We will also look at the ‘beyond compliance’ issues of reforestation, conservation assessment and practice, and plantation management.

We will discuss how new business models have come into play with new Forest Conservation Policies (FCP) and “Zero Deforestation” models, and how they fit into Integrated sustainable forestry management planning. And we will look at how a business in transition continues to thrive while fitting into national economic and environmental plans, commercial environmental supply chain policies and legislation designed to control illegal or environmentally unsound forestry management.

OCTF seminar will be followed by drinks

All welcome. To book a place, please visit https://bookwhen.com/octf