WWF and Apple Care About the Future

The collaboration between WWF and Apple will help to improve the management of up to 1 million acres of forest in China

By Malika Kanatbek kyzy, Youth Correspondent for FSC General Assembly 2017

Overview of the Apple and WWF project

In 2015, Apple launched an innovative new partnership with WWF, which is helping China turn its forests and plantations into a sustainable and responsible source of forest products for many companies’ supply chains. It is a new approach to forest conservation, not only for China, but also for the world.

The goal of this project is to catalyse responsible forestry and trade in China. One approach being used is to increase the amount of forest land under improved management practices by 400,000 hectares before the end of 2020. There is a particular focus on meeting the performance standards of FSC.

“FSC is the core of this project because the FSC standards represent the best in the world in terms of forest management,” said Kerry Cesareo, Vice President, Forests, WWF-US, in a video presented during the side event.

Maoyuan Forestry Company, in Hunan Province, is the first company to commit to FSC certification as part of this initiative. It has made a lot of effort on forest protection and community relations since it decided to obtain FSC certification.

“We constructed some fire-protection green belts and fire breaks, planting some fire-break tree species, such as camphor, to protect the forest against fire, to reduce the chance of fire, and to guarantee the healthy growth of forests,” said Liu Jin, Director of Yuelin Forestry Center, China. “As for pest control, we favour using natural over chemical means of prevention, limiting any pollution to the environment. As for community relations, we not only provide a lot of labour and employment opportunities to local community residents to increase their short-term income, but also provide some long-term positions related to forest protection, so that they can have stable income.”

Over the years, the forest coverage has increased by nearly 10 per cent – significant growth.

“In the process of doing such environmental work, what is the most satisfying is not that we can provide our children with a better education, house, or car, but rather, more importantly, that we can leave behind a healthier and more vibrant planet,” said Zhonghao Jin, Head of Market Practice, WWF-China.

Goals are achieved

Representatives of WWF-US and WWF-China organized the side event on positive forestry on 10 October at the FSC General Assembly 2017. During the session, they familiarized attendees with the Apple/WWF five-year project and progress achieved to date.

One of the first goals of this project is to secure FSC certification for up to 120,000 hectares of semi-natural and plantation forests in China. By July 2017, FSC certificates had been awarded for 129,896 hectares.

The second step was to put up to 280,000 hectares of working forests under improved management. Several pilot forest farms conducted evaluations to identify what forest management practices are working well and what needs improvement. Also, the project is trying to improve China’s policy framework for responsible forestry.

One of the objectives of this project is to drive company and consumer demand for FSC-certified products in China. In 2016, China Sustainable Paper Alliance was launched to engage companies in China that produce and source forest products to source responsibly with FSC focus. Moreover, a ‘Green ME’ campaign was launched to raise awareness about forests and FSC, including celebrity spokespersons, ‘Green Walk’ events, advertisements, and Sustainable Consumption Week events.

Being ‘forest positive’ means that a company looks beyond its own supply chains to save forests. Using science-based targets, it is possible to better manage forests, so they continue to be healthy, productive, and resilient far into the future.

Looking ahead

WWF and Apple will continue implementing the five-year collaboration, looking ahead to the future, and creating a future where we have enough healthy forest around the world.

The WWF/Apple project will continue creating a ‘ripple effect’ for other global companies to support responsible forestry and trade in China, with a focus on FSC.

“The concept of forest positive is to promote sustainable forestry across the industry, beyond our needs,” said Pengyu Li, Forest Programme Officer, WWF-China. “We are still in early stage of thinking about this concept and how we could use it to drive more responsible forestry around the world.”

The side event was concluded with questions for discussion about the forest positive concept:

1. What are the most compelling aspects of this concept?

2. What are the most challenging aspects of this concept?

3. How can we ensure that the ‘forest positive’ concept is used to drive action, and is not greenwash?

4. How might ‘forest positive’ be applied in places where you work?

These questions are good food for thought for you also, dear reader!