Sustaining Forests for All

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Getting to ‘Yes’ in Company-Community Agreements for Forests

When Stora Enso – a global paper, packaging and wood-products company – established a pilot eucalyptus plantation in the southern part of Lao PDR in 2014, it was required to pay concession fees to provincial and district governments. The company was not, however, required to recognize the customary rights of the people who had traditionally used those lands, even though these communities comprise some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

Nevertheless, Stora Enso opted to engage with community members, eliciting their participation in decision-making and co-managing a Village Development Fund to compensate villagers and improve their livelihoods. The corporation ultimately concluded that the benefits of working with communities to obtain their Fair, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) greatly outweighed the costs by significantly reducing the risk of conflict.

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