EXCLUSIVE: Complex supply chains ‘no excuse’ for poor traceability says APP

Timber product supply chains are notoriously complex but this cannot be used as an excuse to avoid the issue of deforestation and unsustainable practices, says Asia Pulp and Paper's (APP) Aida Greenbury.

Acting responsibly is no longer an optional extra, “it’s a necessity and businesses shouldn’t shy away from effective supply chain monitoring,” says Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability and stakeholder engagement.

In November 2013, the CDP published a report showing that businesses are threatening shareholder value because they remain largely unaware of the deforestation risks in their own supply chains.

In particular, the report, The commodity crunch: value at risk from deforestation, cited the significant lack of traceability in corporate supply chains as a major issue for industry.

Commenting on this need to improve traceability, Greenbury told edie: “Our customers are continually telling us that they need to have an end-to-end view of their supply chain to allow them to speak with confidence to their consumers about their sourcing policies and commitment to environmental and sustainable excellence.

“While market demands, propelled in the large part by increased consumer engagement in sustainability, necessitate improvements, the policy environment is also driving standards in supply chain traceability,” added Greenbury.

The implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) in March 2013 for example, placed a new legal responsibility on those bringing timber products onto the European market for the first time and requires them to implement an effective due diligence system.

“This has helped to put some solid foundations in place but all businesses, regardless of their position in the supply chain, need to adopt an increasingly open and honest approach to sharing information,” said Greenbury.

“Doing so will come with its own commercial benefits as we see traceability at the top of the list of requirements for procurement staff at many of the world’s leading retailers. Taking responsibility for the wider supply chain isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business.”

Read more on cutting down on illegal logging through supply chain controls here

Leigh Stringer

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