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Leading Voices in Global Sustainability

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Tony Wood

Director, PT Ata Marie

10 Questions to Change The World

April 2022

How do you think climate change and the global sustainability agenda will
impact your industry over the next 3-5 years?

Dramatically. I work in the natural resource industry focusing on carbon, renewable energy, and forestry consulting. Carbon projects have gone from less than 10% of our portfolio to over 80% in the space of one year. At some point in the near future, biomass to energy has to become more relevant, especially in poorer and more remote areas.

What is one ‘sustainability hack’ you’d recommend to an organisation wanting
to transform into a more sustainable operation?

A hack I would recommend is to invest into tropical forests. There is a wide range of benefits from this, from protecting endangered habitats, increasing biodiversity, significant social impact in poor rural communities as well as a clear justifiable case for carbon neutrality.

At some point in the near future, biomass to energy has to become more relevant, especially in poorer and more remote areas.

Why have you embraced sustainability in your professional career?

I love forests. I have worked my entire career in forests and have first handedly witnessed huge scale deforestation. It gave me the push now to want to protect and rehabilitate what is left.

What are some of the wins you have achieved in your career to date?

Don’t just learn about the forests, but also learn about the people who live in and around the forests.

Developing sustainable forest projects from zero. This includes implementing international standard forest practices, protecting conservation areas, training of local staff, and lifestyle improvements for affected communities.

What do you want to have achieved before you retire?

I want to have been part of the team that develops five successful large scale tropical forest carbon projects.

What advice would you give for organisations looking to start or advance on their sustainability journey?

Don’t just learn about the forests, but also learn about the people who liv e in and around the forests. What drives them to deforestation and how can they be incentivized for sustainability. It’s forest and people. You have to understand both.

Who do you go to for inspiration in this space?

It’s forest and people. You have to understand both.

There is no one special person or group. I go to LinkedIn and read about the successes and innovations from a whole range of people knowing that inspiration can come from many sources.

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- A Kalimantan peat forest area where PT Ata Marie is trying to stop encroachment by local villages. -

How do you offset your own footprint?

I do so through the work that I do, by saving and rehabilitating tropical forests.

What is your one ‘guilty / non-eco’ pleasure? (that you can’t live without)

Coffee. This has caused a lot of deforestation, but I cannot live without it.

If you had to choose one person, organisation or community to lead the world in sustainability, who would it be and why?

David Attenborough. Everyone knows who he is and his voice carries a lot of weight in this world. It’s a shame that he’s nearing the end of his career but he can still impact in significant ways.

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Are you our next Leading Voice?

If you have a story to tell, we want to tell it…

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"If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it. In my lifetime I have witnessed a terrible decline. In yours you could - and should - see a wonderful recovery.”

 

-​ Sir David Attenborough