The New York Declaration on Forests is an unprecedented international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change. The partners will work together:
- To at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and strive to end natural forest loss by 2030.
- To restore 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2020 and significantly increase the rate of global restoration thereafter, which will restore at least an additional 200 million hectares by 2030.
The full list of commitments has the collective target of achieving a reduction in emissions by 4.5-8.8 billion tons per year by 2030.
At the United Nations Climate Summit on Tues 23rd September, Teguh Ganda Wijaya, Chairman of Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP), joined a number of major multi-national companies, governments and NGOs to sign the Declaration. This action was supported by APP’s Australian business partner, Paper Force.
APP’s membership of the Declaration is a demonstration of the role it has undertaken to champion the world’s forests. APP made its own zero deforestation commitment more than 18 months ago and aims now to inspire other businesses to follow suit.
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 highlights that reducing emissions from deforestation and increasing forest restoration are key to tackling climate change. Partners are called on to work together to:
Teguh Ganda Wijaya, chairman of APP stated, “United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has done the planet and some of its most critical ecosystems a great service in convening this ground-breaking meeting of governments, global business leaders and NGOs. 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 forest, planting trees, and protecting the natural forest that surrounds.
“We at APP 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."
Larry Jackson, chief executive of of Paper Force, added, “I have seen first-hand how partnerships and collaboration with key stakeholders are effective ways to tackle challenging environmental problems. APP has already taken a major step forward in protecting forests in its supply chain. By working with global leaders in government, NGOs and businesses, safeguarding the world’s forests is very achievable.”
Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability concluded, “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 has been working successfully to implement this policy over the 18 months since.
Last month, the company made a further commitment to support the protection and restoration of one million hectares of tropical rainforest landscapes in Indonesia. This is one of the most ambitious conservation commitments ever made by a private company.