Biodiversity conservation awareness programmes are important to ensure the protection of Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) species, especially because several Wilmar estates and conservation areas border with state-gazetted Protected Forests as well as local communities.
Stakeholder involvement and partnership is therefore essential to reduce the overall risk to identified HCV areas. It also strengthens the management of the HCV and conservation areas.
In our operations in Sabah, Malaysia, Wilmar partners with local NGOs and government departments under our Wildlife Awareness Outreach Programme (WAOP), which is an ongoing effort to improve the understanding on the importance of biodiversity conservation amongst local stakeholders and to inculcate positive attitudes to conservation and sustainable practices amongst people living in or close to the oil palm landscape.
In 2019, together with the Sabah Wildife Department (SWD), local NGOs HUTAN and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), Wilmar conducted extensive engagements in Sabah with over 1,800 stakeholders in the districts of Sugut, Labuk and Segama.
The WAOP outreach and audience include Wilmar employees, local community members, and students. Information on conservation and protection of RTE species such as orangutan, are conveyed through forums, exhibitions, and interactive games. The awareness programme, which has also expanded to Wilmar-supported schools, has been received positively by both students and teachers alike.