Meet the 100: Ian Lifshitz, VP of Sustainability – Asia Pulp & Paper

The E+E 100 are the VPs, directors, managers and engineers who are making significant strides in driving our industry. See the complete list here or download the report for more detailed information about these leaders. And stay tuned for the Call for Submissions coming in the fall, when you can nominate your favorite sustainability or energy management professional!

Now, meet Ian Lifshitz, VP of sustainability and stakeholder relations for Asia Pulp & Paper. The APP Group is a vertically integrated pulp and paper company with more than 18 million tons of annual pulp, paper, and converting products capacity. Lifshitz leads North American sustainability efforts for APP, which entails working with all stakeholders involved in paper and packaging.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the last year or two?

From APP side, it’s working with the marketplace. How do we educate the marketplace on different options for sustainable options? For example, everyone thinks of sustainability as recycling but there are alternatives that deliver true value. Brands need to look at sustainability wholly, including supply chain, community engagement, etc. It’s a holistic view of sustainability.

Also, developing the right products. How do you expand the product offering?

How have you addressed that challenge?

We’ve worked with R&D teams and developed a Foopak, a biodegradable line of food packaging. As a result, you can have a biodegradable cup. So we look for alternatives and more sustainable options. We’ve been launching Foopak to major quick-serve restaurants.

Grubhub, Uber Eats — how are they going to meet their commitments? We developed Foopak to keep consistency for food but with a biodegradable product.

What advice would you give other professionals as they try to accomplish their sustainability or energy management goals?

Understanding the market needs, understanding trends and customer needs. Put that all together. Sustainability isn’t one size fits all. You have to adapt and take it to market and deliver a sustainable solution. Peel back the onion and understand the needs. Look at ways to capitalize on the expanding food market and do that sustainably.

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