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The Final Word by Helen Roush

In this space over the last few editions, we’ve been discussing areas of communications and their importance.

This time, we’ll talk a little bit about communications we can’t always stop, but can certainly address.

One recent example in our industry, which we reported on over on Nip Impressions earlier this month, involves Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).

As we all know – wrongly, rightly or otherwise – APP has taken a real beating over the years. In fact, we’ve reported on APP and the NGOs that regularly hammer on them quite a few times on Pulp & Paper Radio International.

The green groups’ beating of the drum led major companies such as Mattel, Disney, Hasbro and KFC to drop APP. The groups also persuaded companies to stop buying from fellow “controversial paper giant” Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).

As most of you recall, one year ago, APP announced a Forest Conservation Policy that announced “a permanent end to natural forest clearance across its entire supply chain.”

Naturally, it was met with a wide mix of reactions. Some applauded, some were skeptical, and some said it was too little, too late.

Recently, APP launched its Forest Conservation Policy Anniversary Report with a call for NGOs, governments and businesses to work together in an effort to help tackle deforestation in Indonesia. Right around the same time, APRIL rolled out a new forest management policy. (It was also welcomed and criticized by environmental groups and others.)

Of course, one could say these are extreme examples. Both APP and APRIL have been targeted for years by NGOs. But we’ve reported many times over the years where green groups, government officials and others in various countries have targeted our industry. They are critical of us, often saying we are “destroying the earth,” yet they use our products every single day.

Like I said earlier, we can’t stop what they say, but we can control what we say and control and communicate our message to our clients, customers, legislators and the people who live around us.

And it’s important that we take the time and energy to do so.

Helen Roush is Vice President, Communications Sciences at Paperitalo Publications. She can be reached by email at helen.roush@taii.com.


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