Eagle High Plantations commits 25 years of funding for conservation in Central Kalimantan

Peatland forest, Central Kalimantan. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR

Eagle High Plantations today announced its commitment to provide 25 years of financing for the Rimba Raya biodiversity reserve in Central Kalimantan.

The Indonesian palm oil plantation company becomes the second major client to make the transfer using Lestari Capital’s flagship Sustainable Commodities Conservation Mechanism (SCCM) – the ecosystem services marketplace that ties payments to quality results on the ground.

Eagle High Plantation’s (EHP) funding will support the Rimba Raya biodiversity reserve which protects an important peat swamp forest near EHP’s management unit in Central Kalimantan. As well as housing the largest private orangutan preserve in the world, Rimba Raya works with local communities to provide education and alternative income streams for forest-friendly land use.

The move strengthens EHP’s commitment to sustainable production and landscape protection under its responsible sourcing strategy. “This is the first step in our commitment to sustainable production, which means we also need to protect areas surrounding the plantations that we source from” Denys Munang, EHP’s Director of Sustainability, explained.

With Lestari Capital’s support, EHP’s Mill and Estate in Kumai became its first to gain RSPO certification earlier this month. Now EHP plans to accelerate its sustainable production transformation, hoping to identify other conservation projects and achieve certification for all 148,000 hectares of its 28 plantations.

Partnerships for Forests supported Lestari Capital to set up the SCCM through an initial seed financing grant and is supporting the initiative to expand. EHP’s transaction follows a landmark commitment from Cargill to support a Community Forest project in the Heart of Borneo region through the mechanism last year.

Through the SCCM, Lestari Capital sources conservation projects that meet RSPO remediation and compensation requirements. These address deforestation, conservation and social issues at the plantation level through a framework that few other industry sustainability bodies have managed to achieve.

“We certainly hope more growers join us as we begin to scale up conservation and restoration efforts as a key part of our operations”, continued Mr Munang. “If brought to scale, these efforts will help change the narrative about the legacy of palm oil development, address certain misconceptions and draw more attention to our sustainable practices”, he said.

With EHP’s long-term funding, the Rimba Raya project can continue its mission to avoid 130 million tonnes of carbon emissions, protect 65,000 hectares of rainforest around the Tanjung Puting National Park, and its local community.

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