Nestlé & Yayasan Sime Darby extend ‘RiLeaf’ efforts to restore Kinabatangan River

Puan Yatela Zainal Abidin, Chief Executive Officer, Yayasan Sime Darby [fourth from left], Ms. Caroline Christine Russell, Governing Council Member, Yayasan Sime Darby [fifth from left], Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf, Executive Director, Group Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Malaysia [fifth from right] and Tengku Ida Azura Tengku Ismail, Head Of Legal And Secretarial, Nestlé Malaysia [fourth from right] together with representatives of oil palm smallholders who earned the status of ‘RSPO-Certified Smallholder Group’.

SUKAU, March 3, 2016 – The world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad recently extended its collaborative agreement with Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) for Project RiLeaf, a reforestation and palm oil sustainability initiative in Sabah until 2017, in line with Nestlé’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Project RiLeaf was established to restore riverine forest by replanting trees along the lower Kinabatangan River to help minimise water pollution, and to promote greater awareness on sustainable oil palm practices among the local community. The Project is part of Nestlé’s philosophy on Creating Shared Value, to focus on safeguarding one of the world’s most critical resources – water.

In November 2013, YSD joined hands with Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad to protect and conserve one of the world’s richest ecosystems. Since Project RiLeaf’s inception in 2011, a total of 484,580 trees have been planted, covering more than 2,300 hectares of degraded forests (equivalent to over 3200 football fields). The initiative also spread greater awareness on sustainable agricultural practices to oil palm smallholders, resulting in an increased number of Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil-certified smallholders. Project RiLeaf also closely engaged with the local community to promote capacity-building and increase alternative income.

Nestlé Malaysia and YSD extended their collaboration until 2017 to continue building on the success of this project. Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf, Executive Director, Group Corporate Affairs of Nestlé Malaysia and Ms Caroline Christine Russell, YSD Governing Council Member commemorated the extension of the partnership with the signing of the agreement. This event was also witnessed by representatives from Nestlé Malaysia, YSD, palm oil small holders as well as local members of the community.

Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf commented, “Project RiLeaf is part of Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value philosophy to unite the needs of people, nature, and palm oil agriculture through water; the most common source of vitality. Together with YSD and other key stakeholders, the Project has made great strides in bringing life back to the Kinabatangan River, and has positively impacted the local communities in the floodplains. Through this project extension, we look forward to accomplishing even more together with YSD.”

Ms Caroline Christine Russell said, “Yayasan Sime Darby already has a very large footprint in conservation initiatives in Sabah and this reforestation project further complements our efforts.”

“We are pleased to be part of this significant collaboration with Nestlé. Over the past two years, this sustainable project has not only successfully enriched the biodiversity along the Kinabatangan River but has also helped provide communities in the area additional income besides capacity building initiatives,” she said.

“We hope that other multi-national organisations would also come forward to bring “relief” to the heavily fragmented habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and increase the flora and fauna in this area,” said Ms Russell.

To further celebrate the success of Project RiLeaf, 115 oil palm smallholders earned the status of ‘RSPO-Certified Smallholder Group’ for their fresh fruit bunch production based on their efforts in practising sustainable oil palm plantings. During the event, they were each presented with RSPO certificates.

Puan Norazizah Pibu, a palm oil smallholder commented, “We are delighted to be officially granted the RSPO certificate, and to better understand environmentally-friendly oil palm planting with the help of Nestlé Malaysia and Yayasan Sime Darby. As a member of the community, I can see the positive changes through Project RiLeaf, and it fills me with pride to work together to protect the environment and our home at the Kinabatangan River.”

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Last Updated:
07 Dec 2017
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