Nestlé Malaysia and Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) recently commenced their first reforestation collaboration under Project RELeaf with a tree-planting programme in SDP’s Sua Betong estate. Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) has committed RM2 million to support Nestlé’s replanting efforts in this project. YSD’s contribution includes the purchase of seedlings comprising 23 different types of tree species to be planted as part of the three million trees. These seedlings will be planted at seven selected locations across SDP’s operations in Peninsular and East Malaysia. To kick off the collaboration, 3,000 seedlings were planted in Sua Betong estate by 150 volunteers from Nestlé Malaysia and SDP.
Spearheaded by Nestlé Malaysia, Project RELeaf aims to plant three million trees across Malaysia by 2023 to restore and improve forest ecosystems and protect wildlife as well as critical water supplies. As part of the project, Nestlé Malaysia and SDP signed a Memorandum of Agreement in December 2021 to plant over one million trees across 1,200 hectares within SDP’s oil palm operation areas to restore degraded forest along riparian zones, hilly and flat terrains. This will help establish forest linkages that reconnect key forest fragments to allow wildlife to move freely between patches of forests and increase the availability of food sources such as wild fruits for various wildlife species.
Mr. Juan Aranols, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad, said, “At Nestlé, we are deeply aware of the importance of conserving natural ecosystems which are vital to establish wildlife corridors, helping to mitigate the risk of human-animal conflict. This is also key for the conservation of precious water resources and to protect biodiversity, in addition to supporting livelihoods of local communities. Forests are also the green lungs of the planet, providing a nature-based solution for carbon sinks that are fundamental to combat climate change. To this end and in conjunction with the United Nations International Day of Forests, we are accelerating our reforestation efforts together with our partners as part of Project RELeaf. With Nestlé's well-established presence of 110 years growing with Malaysia, this is another way to further make a positive impact, contributing to a greener Malaysia for future generations to come. This is also in line with Nestlé’s global ambition of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
According to Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, SDP’s Group Managing Director, the tree-planting programme in Sua Betong, Negeri Sembilan was a perfect opportunity for SDP volunteers to be involved in an impactful reforestation initiative as the company celebrates its 200-year anniversary in 2022. “We are pleased to kick-off our collaboration with Nestlé under Project RELeaf and by getting our volunteers involved in this important initiative. Reforestation, biodiversity conservation and volunteerism are some of the hallmarks of our illustrious 200-year history. We are excited to continue charting our future by taking action to respond to climate change and laying the groundwork towards making and realising our net-zero commitment,” said Mohamad Helmy.
Chief Executive Officer of YSD, Dr. Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin added, “We are pleased to collaborate with Nestlé Malaysia once again in this endeavour to safeguard our precious environment. YSD has supported Nestlé since 2013 in replanting efforts along the riparian areas of Sabah’s Kinabatangan River under Project Rileaf concluded in 2020, working with the local communities there and planting more than 800,000 trees in over 350 hectares. With the success of this collaboration, we are optimistic that the nationwide replantation effort taken under Project RELeaf will be an even bigger success. This partnership will complement our efforts under the YSD Environment pillar in taking proactive measures in combatting climate change.”
Project RELeaf also aims to uplift livelihoods for surrounding communities by generating alternative sources of income, such as via direct employment, work contracts, and purchasing of seedlings. To raise greater environmental awareness via learning and recreational programmes, Nestlé will also be engaging with local communities with an all-around reforestation experience.
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