Interview: International Paper Sustainability Team on Deforestation and Responsibility

fortune-green-2013TriplePundit is reporting live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2013 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

International Paper is among the world’s largest forest products companies. Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Teri Shanahan, International Paper’s VP of sustainability on a number of occasions and gotten to know the company as well. We reviewed International Paper’s sustainability report last year.

The paper industry in general has a very large environmental footprint across a vast spectrum of resources. However, in most developed countries, paper is generally not a principal cause of deforestation. Building material, agriculture, and general development are far and away the driving forces removing forested lands. A properly managed and third-party-certified paper company, on the other hand, can actually be a long term protector of forests.

The details of exactly how such responsible stewardship is determined and enforced are very complicated.  I got together with Teri and James McDonald, a manager on Teri’s team, to kick off a conversation we hope will shed some light on the process.  This is the longest of our Fortune Brainstorm interviews, so get a coffee and digest:

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.