Today’s consumers are increasingly demanding sustainably sourced products, so companies are looking at how their businesses and their supply chains impact issues such as climate change, deforestation and use of plastics. To do this effectively, companies need to take a systematic approach, including setting long term goals. The ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs), launched by the United Nations in 2016, provide a complete framework for companies to make positive contributions across all areas of sustainable development.
A key element of the SDGs is how companies can address impacts in their supply chains. Moving sustainability into the supply chain requires a shift away from simply using auditing as a risk management tool, towards a relationship between a company and theirsuppliers that fully acknowledges the sustainability issues inherent in raw materials and other types of contracting relationships. Aspects of sustainabilityshould therefore be core to supply chain management, with mechanisms to promote shared understanding and support to tackle long term issues.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has invested over $120m in sustainability since launching our landmark Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in 2013, whereby we pledged to adopt a zero-deforestation action plan. Since FCP launched we have tackled supply chain issues across APP’s 2.6 million hectare-estate, successfully identifying and resolving numerous instances of illegal logging and forest fires.
We have also recognised the importance of working with stakeholders and partners, such as NGOs, communities, agricultural, government and brands, to help provide solutions and make our contribution towards relevant SDGs, such as integrated forestry farming and restoration. It’s not just about us as a company – it's about redefining the way in which we and the stakeholders we work with interact with the natural landscapes we rely on.
In the past, industry typically collaborated with experts to develop generic standards on a global scale. Today we're seeing the opposite, with the greatest need now to develop solutions that work at a local level. Businesses and stakeholders must now work together to address global problems through local action – action that can be scaled up over time for greater positive contribution towards the SDGs.
Our challenge is to continue to meet the requirements of our stakeholders and exceed the expectations of our customers by incorporating sustainable sourcing in supply chains. It’s not just about using sustainability to drive sales. Increasing the level of transparency in the way in which we work with our suppliers on sustainability issues is a long term goal, and one we will continue to strive for progress on.
Dr. Liz Wilks, Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Europe for Asia Pulp and Paper