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Nestlé & Yayasan Sime Darby extend ‘RiLeaf’ efforts to restore Kinabatangan River

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  • Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad and Yayasan Sime Darby signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend Project RiLeaf until 2017.
  • Since 2011, Project RiLeaf has:
    • Planted more than 480,000 trees over 2,300 hectares of degraded forest (equivalent to over 3,200 football fields).
    • Increased the number of Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified smallholders.
    • Promoted capacity-building and increased alternative income of local community.

The world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad today extended its collaborative agreement with Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) for Project RiLeaf, a reforestation and palm oil sustainability initiative in Sabah until 2017, in line with Nestlé’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Project RiLeaf was established to restore riverine forest by replanting trees along the lower Kinabatangan River to help minimise water pollution, and to promote greater awareness on sustainable oil palm practices among the local community. The Project is part of Nestlé’s philosophy on Creating Shared Value, to focus on safeguarding one of the world’s most critical resources – water.

In November 2013, YSD joined hands with Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad to protect and conserve one of the world’s richest ecosystems.

Since Project RiLeaf’s inception in 2011, a total of 484,580 trees have been planted, covering more than 2,300 hectares of degraded forests (equivalent to over 3200 football fields). The initiative also spread greater awareness on sustainable agricultural practices to oil palm smallholders, resulting in an increased number of Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil-certified smallholders. Project RiLeaf also closely engaged with the local community to promote capacity-building and increase alternative income.

Nestlé Malaysia and YSD extended their collaboration until 2017 to continue building on the success of this project. Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf, Executive Director, Group Corporate Affairs of Nestlé Malaysia and Ms Caroline Christine Russell, YSD Governing Council Member commemorated the extension of the partnership with the signing of the MoU. This event was also witnessed by representatives from Nestlé Malaysia, YSD, palm oil small holders as well as local members of the community.

Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf commented, “Project RiLeaf is part of Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value philosophy to unite the needs of people, nature, and palm oil agriculture through water; the most common source of vitality. Together with YSD and other key stakeholders, the Project has made great strides in bringing life back to the Kinabatangan River, and has positively impacted the local communities in the floodplains. Through this project extension, we look forward to accomplishing even more together with YSD.”

Ms Caroline Christine Russell said, “Yayasan Sime Darby already has a very large footprint in conservation initiatives in Sabah and this reforestation project further complements our efforts.”

“We are pleased to be part of this significant collaboration with Nestlé. Over the past two years, this sustainable project has not only successfully enriched the biodiversity along the Kinabatangan River but has also helped provide communities in the area additional income besides capacity building initiatives,” she said.

“We hope that other multi-national organisations would also come forward to bring “relief” to the heavily fragmented habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and increase the flora and fauna in this area,” said Ms Russell.

To further celebrate the success of Project RiLeaf, 115 oil palm smallholders earned the status of ‘RSPO-Certified Smallholder Group’ for their fresh fruit bunch production based on their efforts in practising sustainable oil palm plantings. During the event, they were each presented with RSPO certificates.

Puan Norazizah Pibu, a palm oil smallholder commented, “We are delighted to be officially granted the RSPO certificate today, and to better understand environmentally-friendly oil palm planting with the help of Nestlé Malaysia and Yayasan Sime Darby. As a member of the community, I can see the positive changes through Project RiLeaf, and it fills me with pride to work together to protect the environment and our home at the Kinabatangan River.”

About Project RiLeaf

The initiative encourages smallholders to minimise oil palm’s environmental footprint by reducing water pollution from soil sedimentation as well as agricultural fertiliser run-offs. The local communities including Komuniti Anak Pokok Kinabatangan (KAPOK) and HABITAT assist with providing indigenous seedlings for reforestation, local contractors for demarcation, planting and maintenance work. As full members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Project RiLeaf is also utilised as a platform for both Nestlé and Sime Darby Foundation to encourage the development and procurement of sustainable palm oil. Project RiLeaf includes collaboration with other stakeholders such as Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Oil Palm Smallholders & Plantations, Sabah State Government and the local communities.

About Nestlé Malaysia

Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturer and a leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness, is headquartered in Switzerland. Since 1866, Nestlé has been committed to providing high quality, tasty, safe and nutritious products to our consumers, in line with our promise of Good Food, Good Life. Nourishing Malaysians since 1912, Nestlé has earned the trust of our consumers through our quality brands and products, as well as our commitment to improve the lives of the communities in which we operate. At Nestlé, our consumers are at the heart of everything we do. We aim to delight our consumers by offering the best quality products; staying true to our Swiss roots while maintaining our Halal excellence and integrity. To learn more about how we have been nourishing Malaysians for over a century, do visit or our Facebook page at

About Yayasan Sime Darby

Yayasan Sime Darby, or Sime Darby Foundation, was established in 1982 and is the primary driver of Sime Darby Berhad’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

The objectives of Yayasan Sime Darby are supported by its five pillars, namely: education; environment, community & health; youth & sports and arts & culture. While led by independent members of a Governing Council and managed by a dedicated team, Yayasan Sime Darby works closely with the Sime Darby Group, in areas of mutual interest.

Since its inception, Yayasan Sime Darby has awarded scholarships worth RM226 million to 2,815 students both in and outside Malaysia. It is supporting long term research projects of significant scientific value like the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project which is the world’s largest ecological project, a joint effort with the Royal Society (The UK and Commonwealth Academy of Science). Yayasan Sime Darby is also actively involved in the development and improvements of sports in Malaysia namely track cycling, lawn bowling, cricket, tennis and golf. Under its community & health pillar, Yayasan Sime Darby supports initiatives to promote the well-being of disadvantaged people irrespective of race, culture, religion, creed or gender and works with established organisations to promote the development of arts and culture. For more information, do visit

For more information, please contact:

Maxine Lim
Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad
Tel: (+603) 7965 5185
Email: [email protected]

Sharifah Naemah Syed Salem
Yayasan Sime Darby
Tel: (+603) 2604 0407
Email: [email protected]

Joanne Lim or Yasmin Kadir
acorn communications
Tel: (+603) 7958 8348
Email: [email protected]