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Shell, HSBC put $665,000 toward Borneo rainforest conservation project

Shell, HSBC put $665,000 toward Borneo rainforest conservation project

Shell, HSBC put $665,000 toward Borneo rainforest conservation project
October 26, 2008

Brunei Shell Petroleum (Shell Oil) and HSBC have donated 500,000 Brunei dollars ($333,000) each to conserve forests on the island of Borneo, reports the Borneo Bulletin.

The BND 1,0000,000 ($665,000) will go to the setting up the Heart of Borneo Brunei Center, an administrative facility that will work to implement the Heart of Borneo initiative to protect roughly 220,000 square kilometers (85,000 square miles) of tropical forest in Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum, said the Royal Dutch Shell Group has extended technical assistance through mapping and satellite interpretation to the initiative as well as the expertise of one of its geologists to work with the teams from Brunei’s Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and the World Wildlife Fund.

Tareq Muhmood, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Brunei, added that the donation would also help fund research.

“It is the early steps in a journey towards a sustainable future,” he said. “HSBC’s roles in the Heart of Borneo initiatives are two-fold: putting the infrastructure in place to move the HoB initiatives forward and funding the field experiments on the long term effects of climate change led by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Universiti Brunei Darussalam.”

Since the 1990s the island of Borneo has experienced one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world. Vast tracts of biologically-rich rainforest have been cleared by loggers and for industrial oil palm plantations, endangering charismatic species — including the orangutan and pygmy elephant — and triggering rapid cultural change among once isolated forest tribes. The U.N. has warned that virtually all the island’s remaining unprotected lowland forest cover could be gone within the next 15 years.

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