Nestlé Malaysia supports national reforestation and biodiversity protection


 Through its Project RELeaf reforestation programme, Nestlé Malaysia strengthens its role as a significant contributor to the nation’s ecological revitalisation under the ‘Penghijauan Malaysia’ campaign aiming to plant 100 million Trees by 2025. With the successful planting of 1.5 million trees under the ongoing Project RELeaf in addition to the previous 1 million trees planted under Project RiLeaf (completed in 2020), Nestlé Malaysia has now achieved an important milestone of 2.5 million trees in total. This accomplishment showcases Nestlé Malaysia’s relentless commitment to sustainable practices and environmental conservation by means of a forest positive strategy. The Company continues to progress towards planting another 1.5 million trees by the first half of 2025, achieving a total of 4 million trees, of which 3 million since the end of lockdowns in 2021.

Commencing its reforestation journey with Project RiLeaf, Nestlé Malaysia spearheaded the planting of 1 million trees in the ecologically vital Kinabatangan Wetlands of Sabah from 2011 to 2020. The riparian reforestation initiative was key in efforts to create a harmonious landscape where people, nature, and agriculture coexist synergistically, all centred around sustaining the lifeblood of the region – water – by creating natural corridors for wildlife and creating natural barriers limiting the flow of pollutants into the river while restoring riparian buffer zones along the Kinabatangan River and other water streams within oil palm plantations. The planting activities also provided an incremental source of revenue for rural communities in the planting areas, helping to improve their livelihoods.

Upon the successful completion of Project RiLeaf, Nestlé Malaysia embarked on Project RELeaf in 2020, with the aim to plant 3 million indigenous forest seedlings by 2023. This timeline was extended to 2025 due to COVID-related lockdowns which did not allow access to planting sites for extended periods of time. Now back on track, Project RELeaf has expanded its footprint beyond Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia, including areas along the Central Forest Spine and locations in Kuala Selangor, Perlis and Terengganu. The focus of the programme has remained to create natural wildlife corridors helping to minimise human-animal interactions by connecting fragmented forests within oil palm plantations. These corridors provide a sanctuary for local endangered species such as orangutans, pygmy elephants, hornbills, and proboscis monkeys. The project also aims to continue restoring riparian buffer zones along the Kinabatangan River and rivers within partnering oil palm plantations to combat water contamination.

Mr. Juan Aranols, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad, said, “Our reforestation programmes reflect our long-term commitment to help Malaysia restore its precious ecosystems and protect its very rich biodiversity, mitigating climate change consequences, and, in the process, providing opportunities to improve livelihoods in rural communities. These reforestation programmes are just one of the many ways in which we drive positive change. As an example, our Farmer Connect programmes continue to support hundreds of rural families engaged in the production of chili, rice and coffee in Kedah and Kelantan. We coach them on sustainable practices such as regenerative agriculture which protect the nutrients in the soil and also help to increase their yields. Through these projects, we are not only protecting nature and safeguarding the country’s biodiversity but Nestlé is also helping rural communities to thrive and prosper.”

Similar to its previous initiative, Project ReLeaf has emerged as a catalyst for positive transformation in local rural communities, engaging over 300 community members. This inclusive effort involves the active participation of Orang Asli communities, including many women, in both Kinabatangan, Sabah, and various locations across Peninsular Malaysia. Their principal activities involve planting and nurturing seedlings and overseeing their transfer to planting sites once they reach a certain size. They also diligently tend to the planted trees, ensuring survival rates well above 80%. With a notable positive multiplier effect, the project has created job opportunities and improved quality of life for these communities. This reflects Nestlé Malaysia’s inclusive approach over many years, aiming to positively impact communities in need.

In keeping with its ESG agenda, Nestlé Malaysia’s efforts will further contribute to Malaysian Government’s goal of planting 100 million trees, under the national ‘Penghijauan Malaysia’ campaign. This contribution positions Nestlé amongst the highest contributors to the National tree planting ambition, reinforcing its pledge to be a driving force supporting the environmental sustainability transition in Malaysia and globally.

Source:Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad

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