Agroforesty, Community Development Linchpins of APP’s Zero-Deforestation Policy

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) spent years in the crosshairs of the world’s largest environmental groups over past accusations about how the company’s irresponsible forestry practices affected local communities. But APP, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies, changed its tone and approach as of late.

APP had discussions with NGOs such as Greenpeace, and those talks eventually led to the company adopting a zero-deforestation policy. In turn, Greenpeace acknowledged that APP has turned a corner. And the company regularly consults with another NGO, the Forest Trust, to ensure that the zero-deforestation message is spread across its vast holdings in Indonesia and China.

But incidents still pop up that land APP in hot water with environmentalists. The reasons why, however, are nuanced when it comes to solving problems such as illegal logging or the unrestricted draining of peatlands. One problem, claims APP, are palm oil plantations adjacent to the company’s managed forests that start fires or drain peatlands, the results of which spill over into APP’s forests. Such flare-ups can also occur when local farmers burn down some forest so they can grow crops to feed their families and neighbors, and the fires spread out of control.

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