Nestlé initiates three million tree planting scheme in Malaysia
A major environmental improvement measure has been unveiled by Nestlé, with plans to plant three million trees over three years through its Project RELeaf reforestation initiative in Malaysia, reports Neill Barston.
The company’s latest initiative in the country has been designed to target its key corporate Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050, with the business sourcing a number of ingredients from the area including palm oil for confectionery ranges.
Its measures come as major corporations and businesses around the world are coming under increasing scrutiny for their supply chain sourcing strategies, and a consumer desire for greater action on climate change and transparency surrounding the delivery of finished products.
As the company, which reported 2.8% organic growth for the first half of 2020 in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, revealed, its RELeaf scheme builds upon its Kinabatangan Rileaf Project, established by Nestlé in 2011, and which helped plant one million trees in Sabah.
Significantly, the business acknowledged that the forests of Malaysia are home to an especially rich diversity of wildlife, including threatened species such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, Asian elephants, tigers and sun bears, which it said was also another considerable factor in its decision to take additional action.
Through extending its reach in Sabah and expanding for the first time to Peninsular Malaysia, Project RELeaf aims to scale up Nestlé’s efforts to restoring riparian and forest ecosystems, contributing to establish wildlife corridors and mitigate human-animal conflict, and protecting critical water supplies.
According to the company, its project will also help to develop greater awareness amongst local communities on environmental topics and will provide additional sources of income to improve their livelihoods.
Chris Johnson, Executive Vice President Nestlé S.A., Chief Executive Officer, Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa said, “We are mindful of the urgent need to address climate change, which is a threat to the sustainability of our business as well as for the planet’s future.
Project RELeaf will enable us to accelerate our net-zero ambition by scaling up nature-based solutions to tackle this global climate issue. Not only will Project RELeaf enhance biodiversity, but it will subsequently help to absorb carbon emissions. Planting trees in areas connected with the sourcing of our ingredients contributes to the responsible management of our supply chain. Furthermore, reforestation complements our efforts to halt deforestation in our supply chains.”
Nestlé Malaysia will plant three million trees across the Kinabatangan Wetlands and Merisuli Forest Restoration areas in Sabah, as well as in forest reserves along the Central Forest Spine in Peninsular Malaysia. Nestlé will collaborate with the Malaysian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Sabah Forestry Department, Malaysian Nature Society, the Tropical Rainforest Conservation and the Research Center, Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project, palm growers, as well as local communities and entrepreneurs for community-based seedling production and tree-planting operations.
The launch of Project RELeaf was officiated by YB Dato’ Dr. Shamsul Anuar Bin Hj Nasarah, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Mr. Juan Aranols, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad.
The event took place at Taman Rimba Alam, Precinct 15, Putrajaya.YB Dato’ Dr. Shamsul Anuar Bin Hj Nasarah commented, “Malaysia has been blessed with abundant natural resources. We are committed to maintain at least 50% of the country’s land area with forest and tree cover in line with our pledge at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 1992. As our nation develops, we must balance our growth with the conservation of our environment.
“As such, we are truly appreciative of Nestlé’s committed efforts to protect our nation’s biodiversity. We hope to see more public and private sector collaborations, to continue protecting our precious ecosystem for future generations.”
Mr. Juan Aranols added, “Nestlé’s pledge to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 reflects our ambition to contribute to a greener future. Project RELeaf, here in Malaysia, is a tangible step towards helping us realize this ambition.
By restoring critical forest ecosystems, we will help to preserve ecosystems and protect biodiversity. These are vital to ensure supply chain sustainability while protecting the environment, as both elements are interconnected in nature. That will enable us to continue making a positive impact for both the planet and for people, as we will continue to empower local communities and support livelihoods via purchasing of seedlings and their involvement in planting activities.”
Project RELeaf is the next evolution of the Kinabatangan Rileaf Project which was a partnership with Yayasan Sime Darby and the Sabah Forestry Department. As of September 2020, one million trees have been planted across more than 2,700 ha of degraded forest.