GRASP maintains a strong focus on sustainable development, acknowledging the fact that development and economic growth will continue to expand across the globe. GRASP fosters great ape conservation efforts that provide growth in income, employment, human well-being and equity at minimal loss of biodiversity. Such outcomes can be achieved through ‘green economy’ approaches, which focus on maintaining species populations, habitats and their environmental services, while encouraging local, regional and international investment in projects that offer economic and social gain.

On the one hand, GRASP works with national governments and the international community to support the adoption of more sustainable practices within the resource-extracting sectors that already exist in certain range states. In particular, this concerns palm oil production, commercial logging and extractives sector. Such work aims to minimize the environmental risks that these sectors pose and prevent subsequent degradation of natural ecosystems. On the other hand, GRASP seeks ways to integrate conservation outcomes with economic gain. This can be achieved through eco-tourism support and stronger involvement of communities in wildlife area management, by training and employing community rangers and distributing other conservation-related income. In addition, GRASP advocates for and collaborates with alternative economic benefit sharing approaches, such as the Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), just to mention a few.