Food giant Nestlé has announced that it will protect and restore over 500,000 hectares of tropical forest landscapes in Southeast Asia through the Rimba Collective.
It is one of the largest private-sector forest conservation initiatives developed by Lestari Capital in collaboration with several founding partners, including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Wilmar.
Rimba Collective complements the palm oil industry's efforts to end deforestation by funding conservation and restoration projects across the supply chain.
The initiative aims at forest conservation investments that simultaneously support forest protection, as well as economic development and job creation for local communities.
'An Important Pillar'
Global head of sustainable sourcing and climate delivery at Nestlé, Benjamin Ware, said, "Our involvement in the Rimba Collective will enable us to speed up our proactive efforts to protect forests and peatlands as well as human rights. It is an important pillar to achieve our commitment to zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050."
The initiative will initially focus on projects in Indonesia before expanding to others regions across Southeast Asia.
Projects will be prioritized based on their potential to protect and restore large, continuous areas of natural ecosystems and critical habitats.
Other priorities include generating measurable ecosystem benefits and making livelihoods more resilient for local communities.
All projects will undergo third-party verification, the food giant added.
A 'Forest-Positive' Strategy
Ware stated, "We know that addressing deforestation in our palm oil supply chain is not enough. For a lasting and meaningful impact, we are evolving from a no-deforestation strategy to a 'forest-positive' one."
"This means we will buy from suppliers who are actively conserving and restoring forests while promoting sustainable livelihoods and respecting human rights," he added.
Lestari Capital is an enterprise that connects markets to conservation.
It finances outcomes on the ground through ethical and efficient mechanisms to support the implementation of more equitable market systems.