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Saving the Borneo rainforest in Sabah – reducing emissions and protecting wildlife

A project member drills a hole in order to plant a new tree in the rainforestMalaysia, particularly the island of Borneo, is home to the oldest rainforest in the world and considered to be one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet. But over the last 30 years, many of the trees have been cut down due to the high demand for tropical timber and the expansion of palm oil plantations. We’re supporting a project that’s helping to preserve the rainforest and protect wildlife, while also providing employment in local communities in Sabah.

Through The CarbonNeutral Company, we’re funding an Improved Forestry Management (IFM) project which employs 50 people from the local area, to grow trees in nurseries and plant them in the rainforest. The idea is simple: the more trees we plant, the more carbon dioxide we can remove from the atmosphere to reduce climate change. If the project did not exist, vines and climbing bamboos would suppress the remaining rainforest.

Staff monitor the forest's growth, as part of the carbon certification process.So far approximately 12,000 hectares of rainforest have been restored and a second round of logging has been avoided. The overall goal is to rehabilitate a total of 25,000 hectares of forest to increase carbon sequestration, increase biodiversity and encourage animal species back to the forests. Experts have recorded 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, 420 species of birds and 221 species of mammals - including the endangered orangutan – on the island of Borneo. Thanks to this project orangutans, sun bears, and pygmee elephants have already been spotted returning to the rainforest in Sabah. The Sabah Rainforest Rehabilitation Project is both validated and verified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) – an internationally recognised standard of quality for carbon reduction projects.

Last year we recorded that 84% of the wood we use meets our sustainable sourcing standards. We’ve also made good progress on sourcing sustainable palm oil, which is why supporting projects like this is so important to us, and the planet.