Rimba Collective is a long-term forest conservation and restoration financing mechanism designed to protect and restore natural landscapes, and support local communities livelihood.
This innovative mechanism was co-designed by Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, together with Lestari Capital.
Lestari Capital is a private enterprise that connects high-impact conservation projects with long-term corporate finance (see lestaricapital.com).
Founding Partners Nestlé, PepsiCo, P&G, Unilever, came together to design, fund and establish the Rimba Collective in April 2021. Following funding, the initiative was operational in March 2022. Together with Lestari Capital, these companies aim to demonstrate collective action beyond reactive no-deforestation commitments to proactively conserve forests in supply-base regions to prevent future deforestation, and deliver nature-based outcomes.
Lestari Capital manages the project portfolio, provides due diligence and project onboarding to expand the portfolio, safeguards performance-based payments, and ensures the efficient and transparent functioning of the Rimba Collective.
Lestari Capital utilises third-party evaluators for due diligence assessments as well as monitoring and reporting under international certification standards for all projects receiving performance-based payments. Rimba Collective corporate partners are not involved in the management of the projects. No projects within the portfolio are owned or operated by Rimba Collective corporate partners or Lestari Capital. A Board of Directors and a Steering Committee oversee the implementation of all aspects.
In addition to the founding partners, the Rimba Collective aims to add further partners from the wider industry. The initial focus is on companies within the palm oil supply chain, including producers, processors and traders, consumer brands and retailers. We aim to eventually expand across other agro commodities and geographies.
The Rimba Collective is designed to achieve long-term positive impacts for nature, communities and the climate. We aim to support conservation in perpetuity through a mechanism that funds a portfolio of projects across thirty years (twenty-five years minimum per project), agreed to by corporate partners in five-year phases. The project portfolio will expand as partners renew their commitments and additional partners join.
Partners and their brands may use their Rimba Collective claims and logo in public communications, websites and product packaging.
The Rimba Collective is designed to be both scalable and replicable. Following successful implementation in Southeast Asia within the oil palm industry, we envision that a tailored model could be developed for other commodities, including soy, beef, cocoa and coffee in Latin America and West Africa.
Agricultural commodities are staples in the consumer goods we use every day. And palm oil’s versatility and favourable yields-per-hectare make it a commodity in high demand.
Agro commodity production has impacted natural landscapes. In 2021, Indonesia was identified as the largest global palm oil producer, producing an estimated 46 million metric tons of crude palm oil (CPO). Malaysia was the second-largest producer, with an estimated production of around 19 million tons in the same year.
To support communities, protect biodiversity and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need not only to stop further deforestation but also to protect and restore forests and peatlands. Losing forests destroys ecosystems, displaces local communities, and increases levels of greenhouse gases that cause the planet-threatening climate crisis.
- In 2019, 63% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to land-use change, forest and peatland fires
- Indonesia’s targets to expand areas designated for Social Forestry has the potential to impact 16.3 million people living within and around forest areas in Indonesia
- In 2021, Malaysia's palm oil exports reached $15 billion
- 5 million hectares (Mh) of palm oil expansion occurred on land deforested since 2001, with 3.5 Mha expanding onto land that was primary forest in 2001. More than two-thirds of all deforested land now used for oil palm plantations is in Indonesia (7.0 Mha), with another 2.7 Mha in Malaysia
Rimba Collective partners have long been committed to tackling commodity impacts on biodiversity, communities and the climate. But they also recognise that more needs to happen to significantly impact the sustainability and viability of agro commodity production. This means pursuing new business models that simultaneously protect and restore nature and advance business objectives. This is what the Rimba Collective provides.
Corporate demand to support nature conservation and restoration is surging. Yet, existing models for achieving this are limited, and there is a mismatch between funding, project quality and scale, and impact duration.
The Rimba Collective addresses these problems through an innovative model that helps companies reconcile the often competing demands of business vs sustainability performance:
- Companies fund conservation at levels scaled to the size of their business
- Projects are funded long term, enabling them to focus on impact
- Corporate claims are tied to verified impacts, improving credibility overall
The Rimba Collective is at the forefront of a movement to support companies’ transition to sustainable economies. Rather than investing in short-term conservation projects through CSR to achieve discrete annual objectives, our model links ecosystem outcomes directly to business transactions over 30 years.
The level of finance contributed by each company is linked to their procurement volumes of palm oil. Rimba Collective is unique in that it is not a grant or a donation mechanism. It is a performance-based payment for the purchase of numerous verified conservation outcomes. You can read more about our unique finance platform here.
No party – the partners, Rimba Collective, or Lestari Capital – receive a financial investment return from the projects. The return gained is the delivery of verifiable ecosystem outcomes, which partners then are able to claim toward fulfillment of their sustainability commitments.
Lestari Capital earns performance-based fees on the number of hectares conserved or restored. All other funds flow directly to projects that protect or restore forests, improve people’s livelihoods and help support the 1.5 °C objective.
All projects must meet a set of criteria to be considered for the Rimba Collective project portfolio.
Projects that meet the criteria are identified by Lestari Capital in consultation with the Steering Committee. Once projects pass an independent due diligence process, the Board of Rimba Collective approves new projects as part of the portfolio.
The Rimba Collective prioritises projects that protect and restore large, continuous areas of natural ecosystems as well as critical habitats to produce more meaningful biodiversity outcomes. Projects are also prioritized according to their potential to generate measurable ecosystem service benefits, such as maintaining water quality and supply, improving soil fertility and sequestering carbon, as well as improving the livelihoods of local communities. Projects must be within the general regions and landscapes in which our corporate partners source palm oil.
All projects in the Rimba Collective portfolio must undergo rigorous due diligence, onboarding, contracting, and monitoring procedures as well as legal, fiduciary and governance safeguards and third-party independent verification. All projects must produce ecosystem outcomes consistent with standards of recognized certification systems, such as Plan Vivo, Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB), Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard, and or other verification schemes as dictated by the regulation of the host country of the projects.
Payments for projects are performance-based and conditional upon delivering verifiable ecosystem outcomes that Rimba Collective partners can claim as progress towards meeting their sustainability commitments.
All projects supported by the Rimba Collective will contribute to our goal of protecting and restoring 500,000 hectares of forest and supporting 32,000 people in forest communities in Southeast Asia over 30 years.
Projects must be operated by local NGOs or companies with established track records of working hand-in-hand with communities and local government. We have rigorous criteria for eligibility – involving expert oversight and independent verification – ensuring that all activities are legal, technically, operationally, and financially feasible.
Additionally, the projects we support must:
- Protect or restore large areas of natural forest, peatland or mangrove currently not protected or under-protected
- Protect or restore the habitats of rare, threatened or endemic species
- Generate measurable ecosystem benefits, such as carbon sequestration, water quality, erosion prevention and soil fertility
- Strengthen and respect the rights of local communities and indigenous people, including their Free Prior and Informed Consent
- Make tangible improvements to people’s livelihoods, including action on education and creating jobs
All projects must be certified under widely accepted standards for conservation, primarily the Climate, Community, Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), or any other verification mechanism as dictated by the regulation of the host country. As carbon regulations allow, Plan Vivo and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) may be used. All projects submit annual monitoring reports. Certifications for any standard used are regularly audited by independent third-party auditors. All projects go through a validation and verification cycle, described below.
All projects report on a set of targeted minimum indicators, below, which are verified by independent auditors according to the certification standards applicable.
|CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPE||COMMUNITY||BIODIVERSITY|
|Hectares of natural forest ecosystems (forests, mangroves, peatlands) under conservation||Numbers of households net benefitting in terms of net income increase through project activities||Number of endangered & vulnerable species net benefitting from conserved and restored habitat in project|
|Hectares of forest ecosystems (forests, mangroves, peatlands, agroforestry) under restoration||Number of women net benefitting from empowerment activities||Number of endangered & vulnerable wildlife signs|
|Trees Planted||Number of children with net improved education opportunities (girls/boys)||Number of endangered & vulnerable wildlife active re-introductions|
|Trees Growing||Number of participants with net improved health care access and quality|
|Contribution to climate change goals, as determined by local regulations and NDC requirements||Number of participants with net improved water access and quality|
In the first instance we will investigate the reasons behind any failure to fulfil the KPIs and deliver the desired ecosystem outcomes. A plan for resolution of the issue will be developed and monitored. Ecosystem outcomes not delivered by the project will not be included in the annual claims of the Rimba Collective partners. In instances where a fault is not resolved, performance-based payments may be stopped until a demonstrated resolution is achieved. In instances of total project failure, claims will not be delivered, and an alternative project will be sought for the portfolio.
By the end of 2023, we will have covered 200,000 ha, and we will gradually increase this coverage to 500,000 ha by the end of year six., We are also actively seeking additional projects throughout Southeast Asia and further afield as we begin to focus on other agro commodities.
All projects must have legal license to operate conservation/restoration activities for a minimum of 25 years.
In Indonesia, there are currently two main types of licenses that facilitate this:
- Social Forestry (Hutan Desa, Hutan Adat)
- Ecosystem Restoration Concessions (IUPHHK-RE)
We limit activities to these license types as these have strong legal status, clear land tenure and user rights and would be secure for the full 25 years of funding under the Rimba Collective.
We are also actively exploring the potential for other types of permits. We welcome collaboration from the government and other organizations to further explore long-term permitting mechanisms to secure land use rights for projects that could qualify for Rimba Collective financing.
Rimba Collective aims to expand the project portfolio beyond Indonesia, focusing first on Malaysia. Additional countries in Southeast Asia, such as Papua New Guinea, will be added in the near-term as the portfolio expands and in-line with the interest of partner companies.
We are actively looking at opportunities to support conservation further afield. If you are an interested project operator, please contact us contact us here.
All projects involve local and indigenous communities as implementing partners and primary stakeholders. Every project includes a local empowerment and livelihood benefits component.
All projects must utilise a participatory design process to ensure livelihood benefits are in-line with the needs and conditions of the local community. All projects must undergo a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process as part of the due diligence conducted, as this is also required as a component of certification under Plan Vivo and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS).
All national legislation and applicable international conventions on indigenous peoples are respected.
The target for projects ultimately reaching a minimum of 500,000 hectares under conservation and restoration will be achieved over six years, with new projects phased in each year. This allows us to get started quickly with projects with a high level of readiness while allowing additional time to on-board more complex projects.
Each project is contracted for a period of 25 years. The total length of the mechanism, however, lasts 30 years, considering the phased approach for project onboarding over the first six years.
We expect additional projects will be added as new partners join the Rimba Collective, allowing us to expand the portfolio far beyond 500,000 hectares.
The project will first go through a technical due diligence process (TDD) performed by an external validation/verification body (VVB) during onboarding. When the project enters the implementation phase and is ready for validation to be certified by recognized international standards, an approved VVB will be engaged to conduct thorough audit of desktop and field reviews. After validation the project’s monitoring report will be verified by VVB in alternate years. The VVB for should be familiar with standards and requirements of the program that the project aims to be certified with. Specifically, the VVB for project validation and verification must have an active status approved by the certification program. Therefore, ideally the VVB for TDD, validation and subsequent would be the same group, to ensure the consistency and continuity in material review, communication and coordination.
Projects supported by the Rimba Collective will generate outcomes that support the SDGs in the areas of Climate & Area Based Benefits (SDGs 13, 15); Social Benefits (SDGs 1,2,4,6) and Biodiversity Benefits (SDG 15).
Partners and their brands may make claims to the ecosystem outcomes of the project portfolio in proportion to their financial contribution to the finance mechanism.
Rimba Collective’s model aligns well with numerous other forms of financial mechanisms for conservation, from traditional donor models to blended finance models or project investment finance. We are actively exploring complementarity and potential collaborations. For inquiries, please contact us here.
Issues concerning the lack of conservation finance are complex and multifaceted. This Initiative represents a positive, collaborative way that industry, project developers and supporters, and the public sector, can have a collective impact by working together.
The Rimba Collective is committed to working together with governments where our projects are based, and we aim to support each country’s goals towards improving conservation and social forestry projects on the ground. We partner with NGOs on specific projects to ensure local communities are thriving while also meeting conservation goals.
This is why we have come together, as progressive industry leaders, to work collectively to drive change. We welcome all other parties to join us.
The Rimba Collective views governments as essential partners in every country where our projects operate. As our initial portfolio focuses on Indonesia, we aim to partner and align with the goals and targets of the Government of Indonesia as we move toward full operation of the initiative. We aim to build relationships across all relevant Ministries at the national and sub-national levels and have started initial dialogue with key Ministries and DGs in Indonesia involved in Social Forestry. We are in discussion to see how we can support the government’s goal to improve social forestry projects on the ground. Through these relationships, we hope to make a lasting contribution to Indonesia’s goals on social forestry, green investment, economic development and environmental protection.
All projects protect and restore ecosystem services that are essential to the well-being of local communities and Indonesia more broadly, such as protection of water resources, food security, job creation and employment, prevention of landslides and flooding, and climate benefits
It is estimated that the projects in the Rimba Collective’s initial 500,000 ha portfolio will have a direct impact on 32,000 local community members directly involved in project activities such as livelihoods enhancement, and even more people indirectly who will benefit from long-term improvements to environmental services.
The Rimba Collective offers a source of long-term financial and capacity building support for the implementation of Indonesia’s social forestry program as well as the potential expansion of Ecosystem Restoration Concessions.
All projects involve local communities as a cornerstone of project implementation and include activities that support and enhance sustainable local livelihoods. Each project has unique community development activities according to the local needs, interests, markets and resources available, and may include development of non-timber forest products, agroforestry (coffee, cacao, others), Climate Smart Agriculture, eco-tourism and more.
These activities connect forest-frontier communities to new markets, bringing in additional income and jobs. Some projects also include education and health services enhancement as well as support of the empowerment of specific disadvantaged groups within communities.