Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lisa Jackson explains Apple's sustainable forests


Theodore Kaye/WWF-China
Aerial view of eucalyptus forests in Guangxi Province, China. In partnership with WWF, Apple transitioned 320,000 acres of forest in China into sustainable management certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Joel Makower is executive editor of GreenBiz Group
When it comes to environmentally responsible packaging, Apple is not feeling boxed in.
The tech giant has just announced the latest expansion of its sustainable forestry strategy, aimed at protecting or creating enough responsibly managed forests to offset its packaging footprint. Late last week, it said that the Forest Stewardship Council had certified 320,000 acres of working forest that the company supports in China, enough to cover all its product packaging.
In 2015, the company committed to protect responsibly managed working forests and announced a five-year partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to transition up to 1 million acres of forest, across southern provinces of China, into responsible management by 2020.
Two-thirds of the newly certified forest is owned and managed by Maoyuan Forestry, a private company in Central China's Hunan province. The rest is owned and managed by state-owned Qinlian Forestry Company in Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang region. The land includes semi-natural forests and forest plantations.
"We found that the Chinese were willing to be wonderful partners, both on the private- and public-sector side because they have a real appreciation for the forest resource," Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, told me. 
"We're finding that China is very fertile soil to grow green programs."
Given the growing interest in sustainable forestry by companies seeking to reduce their supply-chain impacts, I asked Jackson to reflect on what Apple learned working in China. 
"One of the learning lessons is to work with folks on the ground with real experience in China," she said. "WWF is that, but part of the reason WWF is so respected in China is that they are local. They are hiring local Chinese foresters and experts and water managers. They work with landowners, and again, one of the entities is even a state government entity.
"And they're showing that you can have economic growth, and you can harvest this land and still make money, which is very important still in a developing economy like China. Parts of China are still very much in a development situation. And so you can make money, but you can also preserve the natural environment and all the biodiversity that goes along with it."
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