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Nestlé Malaysia and Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) have been working together to protect the Kinabatangan River and the wildlife in the Sabah region since 2011.

Restoring the environment


Planting trees helps minimise water pollution, and local community projects promote sustainable palm oil production. In the past 7 years, over 680,000 trees have been planted along the lower Kinabatangan River in Sabah. The entire project now covers over 2,400 hectares of previously degraded forest area.

The restored river banks form a buffer zone which aims to filter soil sediments and agricultural fertiliser run-off which may flow into the river. This allows the Kinabatangan to repair itself over time.

Supporting communities

man planting a tree 

The Kinabatangan ‘RiLeaf’ project supports local villagers along the Kinabatangan River to generate additional income by planting seedlings of trees native to the environment. The project then purchases the saplings later for reforestation efforts.

Caroline Christine Russel of YSD said:“Over the past two years, this sustainable project has not only successfully enriched the biodiversity of the Kinabatangan River, but has also helped provide communities in the area additional income besides capacity building programmes”.

palm oil tree 

As well as tree planting, project ‘RiLeaf’ works with small holders on sustainable agricultural practices. The result is more farmers receiving Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.

“We are delighted to officially be granted the RSPO certificate, and to better understand environmentally friendly palm oil planting with the help of Nestlé Malaysia and YSD,” said Puan Noraziah Pubu, a local smallholder. “I can see the positive changes through project 'RiLeaf', and it fills me with pride to work together to protect the environment.”

Preserving biodiversity

The Kinabatangan River is an important ecoregion and is home to over 250 bird, 50 mammal, 20 reptile species and 1056 plant species. It is also one of only two places on the planet where 10 primate species including the orangutan, the proboscis monkey and the Borneo gibbon can be found.

Kinabatangan River 

The restored zones form a wildlife corridor which allows wildlife to thrive and forage in their natural habitat while reducing the conflict between humans and wildlife. ‘Rileaf’ in Malaysia, as well as projects like it in Indonesia and around the region, support Nestlé’s commitment to 100% responsibly sourced palm oil by 2020.

Through our tree planting initiative, Nestlé Malaysia is helping to fulfill the company’s purpose of ‘enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. It ensures that the Kinabatangan River continues to be a ‘corridor of life’ for Sabah and home to its unique biodiversity.