If you want to see just how complicated a supply chain can be, the operations of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) on Hainan Island, China, gives an idea of what goes into products that we often take for granted. And considering that APP is also an integral supplier to companies around the world, it is easy to see how one wayward employee or lax oversight can land a company in hot water with its stakeholders, particularly environmentalists. In APP’s case, its business on Hainan — from tree seedlings to the finished product — offers a case study on what it takes to evolve into a more responsible and sustainable company. Trees, obviously, are to APP what wheat, soy or palm oil are to other companies. APP’s managed forests in Indonesia combine to cultivate far more raw material for the company than its current holdings in China. But those forests, concentrated in Hainan, offer a sense of the scale APP has developed as the world continues to demand paper. APP’s most recent tour for journalists started from Haikou, the province’s capital and home to 2 million people. Skyscrapers and condominium high-rises eventually give way to a lush landscape of palm trees and plantations that grow just about everything from bananas to mangoes to rubber. After a 90-minute drive, we arrived at a site where eucalyptus trees soar when compared to the stalks of a papaya farm just a few hundred yards away.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock issued the following statement in opposition to the Maryland General Assembly’s efforts to alter the state’s definition of qualifying biomass in the renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS):
“The forest products industry in Maryland produces almost $1.8 billion in products annually, employing approximately 6,000 people who work in facilities that produce essential products. The bioenergy from forest products manufacturing residuals is a carbon neutral, renewable energy that provides enormous greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits – roughly the equivalent to removing 35 million cars from the road.
Unfortunately, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation (SB 65) that redefines qualifying bioenergy under the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS). Not only will this result in fragmented energy policy that could harm the most economically disadvantaged Maryland citizens, but it will also cause major price disruptions for Maryland’s electricity grid when nearly one-quarter of the current energy sources are removed from eligibility. The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) believes RPS policies should be based on sound science and sustaining economic and business certainty. We encourage Governor Hogan to veto this shortsighted legislation to avoid unintended consequences to Maryland’s environment, economy and taxpayers.”