Aida Greenbury joins Mongabay’s board of advisors

Indonesian rainforest. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.

Mongabay is pleased to announce that Aida Greenbury, an Indonesian forester with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of sustainability, forest management and industry, is joining our advisory board. Other members of the advisory board include primatologist and conservation icon Jane Goodall, tropical ecologist William F. Laurance, and botanist Peter Raven.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Aida Greenbury to Mongabay’s advisory board,” said Rhett Butler, Mongabay’s founder and CEO. “Her curiosity and passion toward forests and wildlife as well as her knowledge from studying forestry for almost all her life lead her to become an early champion for the zero-deforestation movement within a company, and industry, where that was a pretty radical concept at the time.”

For 13 years Greenbury worked on sustainability issues at Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world’s largest integrated forestry, pulp and paper groups. As the Chief Sustainability Officer, Greenbury spearheaded the controversial forestry group’s development, adoption, and implementation of a forest conservation policy that in 2013 won wide acclaim from some of APP’s harshest critics. The policy established protocols for addressing social conflict, barred deforestation and conversion of peatlands from its supply chain, and set targets for restoring degraded peatlands. Greenbury left APP in May 2017, although she is currently engaged by the group on a short-term advisory contract limited to its potential re-association with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Greenbury is currently working as an independent sustainability advisor, including serving as Co-Chair of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group and Chair of the Private Sector Roundtable of the Asia Pacific Rainforest Partnership. As a member of the advisory board, Greenbury will provide advice and help coordinate network development as Mongabay expands its coverage in Asia. She will also offer insights on the forestry sector in the region.

Aida Greenbury in a helicopter over Riau. Photo courtesy of Aida Greenbury.

“I feel very fortunate to have a chance to contribute to this cause. Mongabay is a non-profit organization based on science. Although I took a different but, parallel path with my earlier career, I was raised as a scientist and have always applied its disciplines,” said Greenbury. “The founder and board members of Mongabay are driven by their passion for nature and wildlife, and I have always been passionate about responsible forest management and forest conservation. Given these similarities between our goals, it seems only natural to me that our paths should intertwine.”

“Saving the forest is not a one-size-fits-all process; it can be done in many different ways, but one thing that holds true is that the barriers between forest conservation and stakeholders must be broken down. By joining Mongabay’s Advisory Board I hope to take a step towards breaking that barrier, to fight together for what we believe in through more innovative ways.”

Brodie Ferguson, Mongabay’s Chairman of the Board, said Greenbury’s wealth of knowledge and experience will be invaluable.

“Greenbury’s depth of knowledge will be extremely useful in understanding and navigating the complexities of Southeast Asia’s forestry sector and beyond,” said Ferguson. “Additionally, her experience in the private sector brings diversity to our advisory board, which is entirely comprised of people from civil society and academia.”

Rainforest in Riau, Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.

Mongabay is rapidly expanding its global non-profit environmental reporting platform to new markets. Last year, Mongabay launched a Spanish-language news service in Latin America. Later this year it will establish Mongabay-India and a video initiative.

Traffic to Mongabay’s news sites is also rising, with direct readership up 82 percent over the past seven months relative to the same period a year earlier. Mongabay now has content syndication relationships with dozens of newspapers and media outlets, further extending its reach.

“This is a very exciting time for Mongabay and we’re grateful that Aida will be lending her expertise to our advisory board,” said Butler.


July 1, 2019 statement from Aida Greenbury

I resigned from Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) as their Managing Director of Sustainability in May 2017. In July of 2017, I agreed to APP’s request to be a technical consultant to advise APP shareholders on sustainable forest management matters. As of June 2019, APP and I mutually agreed to part ways and put an end to our engagement. I have also resigned from my position as a member of the Board of Trustees of APP’s Belantara Foundation. APP’s Forest Conservation Policy has been a pioneer in the industry, particularly for the resulting implementation of zero deforestation. I wish nothing but the best for APP as it continues its sustainability journey and efforts. I will continue to advise several organizations, including the German Development Cooperation, High Carbon Stock Approach and Mongabay.


Editor’s note (August 8, 2017): We’ve received a few questions from readers. Mongabay Founder Rhett A. Butler responds.

+ Has Mongabay received any funds from APP, companies linked to APP, or the Belantara Foundation?
(8/8/17) No, Mongabay has not received funds from APP, companies linked to APP, or the Belantara Foundation. Nor are we seeking funds from these entities or other companies in the plantation or forestry sector.

+ Does this development interfere with Mongabay’s objectivity or editorial independence?
(8/8/17) The advisory board does not have editorial influence on our reporting. Editorial decisions are made by the editorial staff of Mongabay, including editors and writers.

+ Will having Aida Greenbury on the advisory board affect Mongabay’s coverage of APP?
(8/8/17) This will have no impact on our coverage of APP.

+ Will Mongabay continue to be credible in the palm oil reporting after Aida Greenbury joined?
(8/9/17) This is an odd question given that Aida Greenbury has not worked in the palm oil sector: APP is a wood pulp producer that grows acacia and eucalyptus. But as we’ve stated, the advisory board has no editorial influence at Mongabay, Mongabay-Indonesia, or other Mongabay properties.

+ Are you concerned having Aida Greenbury on the advisory board will affect your relationship with KLHK minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar?
(8/12/17) Having Greenbury on the advisory board will in no way affect our reporting on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry or environmental issues in Indonesia. And given the minister’s lack of responsiveness to requests for interviews and information as well as her occasional derogatory remarks about Mongabay, I doubt this will have any impact on our “relationship”. However I would certainly welcome greater openness and responsiveness from the minister in terms of her interactions with the press.

+ Aida Greenbury’s liaison between APP and the FSC, tends to imply that she (and the FSC) seems to consider irrelevant the gross and continuing malpractice allegedly involved in establishing mills and the pulpwood and oil palm plantations operated by APP and its associates – and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions. Although FLEGT-licensing likewise appears to have forgiven that malpractice, the market has not. It would be shameful if Mongabay soon seems to consider negligble [sic], or to downplay, or fails to report on, the upstream malpractices (which contribute to ecocide) of such enterprises.
(9/14/17) As clearly stated, Aida Greenbury has no influence over our coverage. Our writers and editors are proceeding as they always have with their coverage.

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