Sustainable Company Awards 2023

Nature-based initiative of the year, APAC: Lestari Capital

To address conservation and restoration in the palm oil producing regions of Indonesia and Malaysia, Lestari Capital developed the Rimba Collective, a $1 billion financing mechanism, with Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever as founding partners.

The $1 billion target is expected to be committed over the next 30 years to fund a range of conservation and restoration projects extending over 500,000 hectares. Now in its second year, the Singapore-based natural capital asset manager says the collective has financed 102,000 hectares of forest conservation and is on track to reach its second-year target of 200,000 hectares and 500,000 hectares in year six.

"The Rimba Collective demonstrates the tremendous positive impact collective corporate action can have on nature and communities, while also delivering on company sustainability commitments," said Michal Zrust, CEO of Lestari Capital.

"These efforts need to be focused both within and around sourcing areas to protect supply chains; they must be long-term to deliver permanence; and critically, they must be shown to deliver verified impacts if they are to credibly support supply chain transformation."

All projects funded by the Rimba Collective must be consistent with the standards of recognised certification systems, such as Plan Vivo, Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB), Verra's Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard, or other verification schemes.

"The Rimba Collective shows what is possible. Just imagine what could be achieved if the whole sector fulfilled that expectation," added Zrust.

Partners in the Rimba Collective yield, instead of any financial return, certified environmental service outcomes (ESOs) such as those for climate, biodiversity, and enhanced livelihoods, which are independently monitored and verified.

"[Rimba Collective] provides an innovative solution to nature degradation threats to the palm oil producing areas in terms of ensuring continued financing and establishing a sustainable verification system," said one Environmental Finance Sustainable Company Awards judge.

The Rimba Collective welcomes other supply chain actors to join to increase its impact.