PETALING JAYA: Lestari Capital has launched the Rimba Collective, an initiative with the aim of delivering US$1bil (RM4.14bil) to forest protection and restoration in South-East Asia over a 25-year duration.
Rimba Collective is poised to be one of the largest private sector-enabled forest conservation initiatives ever launched in South-East Asia.
The initiative, which aims to protect and restore over 500,000ha of tropical forests, was developed by Lestari Capital, an impact-focused enterprise, in collaboration with founding partners including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Wilmar.
It also aims to expand to more corporate partners and users when it becomes operational at the end of 2021, said Lestari Capital in a statement.
The entreprise said Rimba Collective complements the palm oil industry’s efforts to end deforestation by integrating and embedding funding for conservation across the supply chain.
The initiative creates a transformative and sustainable financial model for long-term forest conservation investments that simultaneously support economic development and job creation for local communities.
The initiative’s project portfolio will initially focus on Indonesia, before expanding to projects across South-East Asia.
It added that projects funded by Rimba Collective will be prioritised based on the potential to protect and restore large, continuous areas of natural ecosystems and critical habitats, such as primary rainforest, peatland and mangroves.
Other priorities include generating measurable ecosystem service benefits (such as carbon sequestration, water purification and soil health) and resilient livelihoods for local communities.
All projects will undergo third-party verification.
Rimba Collective aligns with Indonesia’s focus on protecting the country’s natural capital while generating resilient jobs, attracting high quality international and domestic capital, and driving economic development to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
The initiative’s 25-year project agreements will directly benefit 32,000 local people in forest-frontier communities, strengthening equitable livelihoods and providing a secure source of income.
It also contributes to the government’s targets to expand social forestry, accelerate peat and mangrove restoration, and reduce deforestation.
The Rimba Collective officially launched the mechanism with its founding partners at a virtual event yesterday.
The event included a panel discussion with the founding partners, project proponents and government representatives discussing their perspectives on the Rimba Collective and the exciting path ahead.