BG+: The big question is how do you now make this commitment work? How do ensure this does not impact the company's commercial viability?
Greenbury: A lot of work had been done before we made that announcement. We've done a lot of work on the growth and yield certification. TFT was working for months, verifying our plantation stock, checking the growth and yield of our existing plantation stock, and we have done something similar internally ourselves, and worked with Ata Marie, an independent forestry growth and yield expert group that is New Zealand-based, to verify our plantations. So we knew we had verified plantations. We knew we had enough plantation. Yes, we do need some more buffers, but what we have right now is enough and what more we need can be developed in areas where we do not convert natural forests.
BG+: The other big question is how do you enforce the new policy? How do you guarantee that you are no longer using timber from natural forests?
Greenbury: I can't guarantee. I can't guarantee smooth sailing going forward. Scott cannot guarantee that and nobody can guarantee that. We know there are going to be challenges, we know there are going to be bumps along the road, we know that. But the most important thing is we now have a process to deal with it should those challenges appear in the future.
We now have something called a grievance protocol that TFT and APP launched a few weeks ago. It's already been used. An NGO made a complaint that they thought there was some natural forest clearance still being carried out by one of our suppliers and we had our team in place to verify what was happening on the ground. We reported back to the NGO what they saw was not correct. Everything was fully transparent and the NGO was very happy the protocol had worked as planned.
BG+: And you have TFT to audit activity as an independent third party?
Poynton: That's right. This whole question of independent third-party auditors sometimes comes up and we've had some folks say, "Is TFT independent, given APP is paying you?" Well, all auditors are paid by the client they are working with. We are a U.K.-registered nonprofit, we've been working for 14 years, we work with offices in 16 countries, we've had forests certified all around the world -- we're pretty confident in our credibility.
But we recognize some people might scratch their chin over that. So, we've got 55 people in Indonesia but they can't be everywhere all the time, so what we want is for civil society in Indonesia to act as eyes and ears on the ground. What we've said to them is, "Here is the information, here is where the forest areas are, we've got our guys going round with GPS mapping the forest boundaries where they were as of Jan. 31." We can say, "Here are the maps, please help us to ensure these areas are protected."
I think this is going to be something that people look to in the future as a new model. This whole idea of independent third-party certification, I think, has got a lot of hairs on it. We've seen a lot of issues with auditors. But what we are saying here is don't rely on some paid third party, even though we are confident in our independence and credibility -- let's get the civil society involved and use them. It's a much broader stakeholder process and I think that is a model going forward in this and many other industries. We need to rely on those local guys on the ground to be our eyes and ears.
Next page: Proving to the world