Global Environment Centre (GEC) as implementation partner to assist in upskilling communities
KUALA LUMPUR, 19 February 2021 – Yayasan PETRONAS announced today its commitment to plant 50,000 trees as part of its environmental conservation Sentuhan Alam initiative. The project, which involves planting trees and enhancing the management of the trees in 14 sites across 11 states in Malaysia, is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by more than 200 tonnes.
Yayasan PETRONAS Chief Executive Officer Shariah Nelly Francis said: “Yayasan PETRONAS has a long legacy of safeguarding the environment. We aim to better the environment through biodiversity conservation and carbon-neutral programmes, such as rainforest conservation in Imbak Canyon, Sabah; marine biodiversity restoration in the Biodiversity, Environment & Conservation (BEACON) project in Sarawak; mangrove rehabilitation and the establishment of the EcoCare Centre in Kerteh, Terengganu.
“We are also working with the Ecosystem Conservation and Tourism programme of the Setiu Wetlands State Park, Terengganu, to upgrade their facilities and drive programmes to eradicate poverty amongst the local communities that live off the biodiversity of the surrounding areas. These efforts began at our areas of operations and are scaled out nationwide, complementing our larger goals for greater environmental sustainability,” she added.
Yayasan PETRONAS’ appointed implementation partner Global Environment Centre (GEC) will be managing the programme for three years until August 2023. GEC’s duties include identifying and managing the setup of suitable planting grounds, selecting suitable plant species, facilitating community nurseries, site preparation, monitoring and ensuring the sustainable growth of the trees planted.
The majority of sites consists of mangroves and peatland forests, with suitable tree species for mangroves sites such as the Rhizophora Mucronata (Bakau Kurap), Rhizophora Apiculata (Bakau Minyak), Bruguiera spp. and more, while the peatland sites will feature species that include the Melicope Lunu-ankenda (Tenggek Burung), Macaranga Pruinosa (Mahang) and Alstonia spp.
Nelly added: “The planting sites and tree species have been carefully identified to ensure it is ecologically viable and sustainable. Our aim is to guarantee at least 70 per cent survival rate for our trees and an improvement in the livelihoods of local forest-reliant communities.”
Improving the livelihood of communities
Yayasan PETRONAS, through GEC, will be engaging communities in the nearby areas where the tree saplings will be planted, to either start up or expand their nurseries. They will be trained on how to care for and effectively monitor and manage the growth of these trees over a period of three years.
Director of GEC, Faizal Parish said: “In addition to establishing the forest tree nurseries, we will offer community groups extensive training in the proper collection and handling of seeds and wildlings, the preparation and maintenance of the planting sites and more. Through the empowerment and skills transfer, we want to enable them to attain a more sustainable livelihood by generating income from forest management and protection to support their daily lives and those of their family.”
Apart from a source of sustainable livelihood, the community is also expected to benefit in other ways from the rehabilitation of forests. This includes enhanced protection from coastal erosion and increases in fisheries for mangrove projects. For peatland forest projects, surrounding communities will benefit from a reduction in peatland fires and haze, as well as enhanced protection of peatland water sources and non-timber forest products. The rehabilitation efforts in lowland forest sites will offer its surrounding communities new opportunities in recreation and ecotourism, as well as protect their water sources.
“Tree planting and forest protection are among the best climate change solutions. Beyond being a great place to store carbon, forests will also help us better adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis – by protecting coastal areas from erosion, reducing the risk of flooding and providing a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and other plant species,” added Faizal.
PETRONAS Employees Step In Through Walk4Trees
Yayasan PETRONAS’ initiative folds in a commitment made by PETRONAS and its employees in 2019 through a walking challenge called ‘Walk4Trees’. Through this programme, PETRONAS pledges to plant one tree for every million steps completed by its employees, contributing 20,000 out of the 50,000 trees commitment.
“With 20 billion steps, employees are therefore contributing 20,000 trees out of the total that is being planted through this initiative,” said Nelly.
The collective step count currently stands at 12.4 billion, or equivalent to 12,400 trees – and PETRONAS employees are confident that they will achieve its target by June 2021.
Besides contributing their steps towards the programme, PETRONAS employees will also have an opportunity to volunteer in the tree planting programmes. The programme reflects PETRONAS’ commitment to contribute to the society and environment, aligned with the organisation’s Sustainability Agenda on safeguarding the environment.
In addition to conserving the environment, this project also gives PETRONAS employees a meaningful platform to positively impact their health, improve the climate and deliver positive outcomes for communities in need.
In the spirit of inclusivity, the Challenge is also extended to the public, offering them an opportunity to contribute to environmental conservation for a sustainable future. Members of the public may register for the Challenge and record their steps via the BookDoc application, available on the App Store and Play Store.
Within its environment focus area, Sentuhan Alam, Yayasan PETRONAS aims to improve the environment through biodiversity, conservation and carbon-neutral programmes towards enriching lives for a sustainable future.
About Yayasan PETRONAS
Yayasan PETRONAS is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of PETRONAS. Its mission is to enrich lives for a sustainable future. Yayasan PETRONAS aims to deliver sustainable impact, improving the quality of life and socio-economic outcomes for communities across the nation through its focus areas in Education, Community Well-being and Development and the Environment.
About Global Environment Centre (GEC)
Global Environment Centre (GEC) is a Malaysian non-profit organisation established in 1998 to work on environmental issues of global and local importance. GEC has supported community-based natural resource management throughout the ASEAN Region. It was recognised in 2020 as a role model for coastal forest rehabilitation by the Malaysian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
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