NewPage Corporation (NewPage) announced today its support of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in releasing new groundbreaking web applications created to help ensure that palm oil production is pursued in a way that avoids deforestation. These two publicly available web tools–the Forest Cover Analyzer and the Suitability Mapper—are the first of their kind, designed to enable companies and governments to implement commitments to sustainable palm oil.
Since 2008, NewPage has supported WRI's Project POTICO, a project designed to divert oil palm development in Indonesia onto low-carbon, already-cleared lands and thereby avoid deforestation. Though NewPage sources fiber for its operations exclusively in North America under rigorous environmental and social criteria, NewPage believes strongly in supporting initiatives like Project POTICO that are working to improve forest product procurement practices across the globe.
Project POTICO's Forest Cover Analyzer tool allows users to identify and assess forest conditions in Indonesian Borneo, including the extent of forests, forest cover change, where oil palm and other concessions are located, and the suitability of land for sustainable palm oil development. Given the increased focus many corporations are placing on responsible procurement of forest and agricultural products, the Forest Cover Analyzer is designed to be an extremely valuable tool for corporate buyers, suppliers, and investors looking to avoid risks associated with deforestation concern and to locate plantations not associated with forest clearing.
The second tool, the Suitability Mapper, is an online mapping system designed for use by palm oil producers and spatial planners, allowing them to locate low-carbon degraded lands on Indonesian Borneo that are potentially suitable for sustainable palm oil production.
As Indonesia is one of the world's deforestation hotspots, developing tools that support responsible forest management, commodity production, and investment in this region is crucial. Now that these tools have been piloted and launched for Indonesian Borneo, WRI plans to apply this knowledge to developing similar web-based tools to inspire and enable responsible forest management on a global scale.
"These online systems bring the world another step closer to having its commodities and its forests too," stated Craig Hanson, director of WRI's People & Ecosystems Program. "And our long-term partnership with NewPage, the pioneer supporter of POTICO, helped make it happen."
"NewPage has always been committed to sustainability in its own operations, through responsible fiber sourcing, achievement of third-party certifications, running efficient manufacturing operations, and looking for ways to continually lower the environmental footprint of our products," stated David Bonistall, vice president, Environmental, Health and Safety for NewPage. "Since 2008, we have been proud to support WRI's work on global forestry issues, and congratulate them on the release of these groundbreaking forest monitoring tools. These tools will provide the necessary resources to improve sustainable oil palm production, reduce pressure on virgin rainforests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forest clearance and conversion."
By providing public access to up-to-date information on forestry activity in Indonesia, Project POTICO's new web tools mark a major step toward improving global forestry conditions. Information on Project POTICO, and links to access these two new web applications, are available at www.ProjectPOTICO.org.
SOURCE NewPage Corporation
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