SHARING AGRICULTURAL EXPERTISE: Nestlé staff on the ground working with seedling planters in the field.
Nestlé will plant up to 750,000 trees in Malaysia as part of a reforestation project to help protect the rich biodiversity of a river ecosystem.
The forest trees will be planted over the next three to four years on both sides of a 110km stretch of the lower Kinabatangan river in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo.
At 560 kilometres in length, the Kinabatangan is Malaysia’s second longest river.
It provides a vital ecosystem for wildlife and plants. Local people rely on the river for food, water, transportation and a source of income.
The project aims to reduce pollution in the river by allowing the trees to form a natural barrier against soil sediment, as well as fertiliser and pesticide overspills from agricultural activities.
“The first 100,000 trees will be planted within 12 months,” said Peter Vogt, Managing Director of Nestlé Malaysia.
“In total, the trees will cover 2,400 hectares; an area three times the size of Gibraltar.
“We are working with a group of local forest seedling producers and we are applying our commercial agricultural experience to the planting programmes," he added.
LIFE ON THE RIVER: Local people rely on the river for food, water, transportation and a source of income. The above image shows forest seedlings being transported to planting areas.
Higher rates of growth
"This way, we hope to achieve higher rates of survivability and growth among planted forest trees, to help speed up the reforestation of the riverside."
At the same time as acting as a filter against harmful materials, the new trees will eventually form a forest ‘corridor of life’, where animals and birds can thrive.
The project is part of Nestlé’s approach to corporate social responsibility. Called Creating Shared Value, it focuses on specific areas where the company can best create value for both society and its shareholders.
Nestlé will share its agricultural expertise with the local community along the river, to encourage the smallholder farmers there to adopt environmentally sustainable practices.
As a first step, the company has helped to build a pilot farm. It demonstrates how low environmental impact farming can still generate strong crop yields.
Preserving natural habitats
The reforestation project is one of several initiatives introduced by Nestlé in Malaysia to help preserve natural habitats.
Last year, the company received an Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Award for its role in a project to protect the Setiu wetlands on Malaysia’s east coast.
In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, Nestlé helped local women to identify ways of earning an income from environmentally sustainable activities.
The women, who are the main financial providers for their families, were trained in basic entrepreneurial skills and eco-tourism.
World Wildlife Fund Malaysia website
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Nestlé triumphs at Malaysian Corporate Governance Awards
Investment of CHF 35 million in breakfast cereals factory in Malaysia
José Lopez announces partnership with Forest Trust, Malaysia