In its efforts to show the U.S. business community the strides it has made to operate more sustainably and halt deforestation, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) recently invited a group of National Restaurant Association) members and industry representatives to tour its facilities in China.
The tour, attended by Laura Abshire, the NRA’s Director of Sustainability, and several quick- and full-service restaurant companies, visited APP’s headquarters in Shanghai and several of its factories in Ningbo, where its paperboard packaging products are produced. The trip also included a stops on the island of Hainan, where much of the materials are sourced from tree plantations.
“This trip was helpful in showing transparency into how APP’s products are sourced and made, and how far the company has come in choosing to be more sustainable,” Abshire said. “We’re encouraged by their progress.”
APP, which reports annual revenues of approximately $11 billion, announced in 2013 it would become more environmentally responsible after its sustainability reputation suffered amid claims of deforestation. As a result of this approach, the company’s business performance also has improved, spokesman Michael McManus said.
“Maintaining the integrity and transparency of our supply chain is crucial not only to APP’s operations, but also the commitment to our sustainability roadmap,” he said. “A cornerstone of this plan has been our Forest Conservation Policy, which called for an immediate halt to all natural forest clearing throughout our supply chain. We announced the formation of the plan in February 2013 knowing it was the right thing to do for the communities in which we live and work and for the future of our business. We are proud of the results and believe we represent a shift in the way pulp and paper is sourced.”
McManus said APP celebrated its sustainability milestones at the United Nations last September, when the company was the only pulp and paper firm invited to sign the New York Declaration on Forests. The initiative is geared toward reducing and reversing deforestation, contributing to economic growth, and increasing food security and biodiversity conservation.