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Business solutions for forest conservation

Al Gore and WWF unite to promote business solutions for forest conservation in the Heart of Borneo

WWF this week launched a new initiative – the Heart of Borneo - Green Business Network – that will focus on getting businesses engaged in conserving and sustainably managing the 22 million hectares of trans-boundary forests in the region called the Heart of Borneo. The governments of Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia committed to conserving and better managing this region when they signed the Heart of Borneo Declaration in 2007.

The initiative was rolled out at a dinner in Indonesia where former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and WWF Indonesia CEO Dr. Efransjah spoke. More than 600 Indonesian government and business leaders attended.

New Heart of Borneo Report
Also at the event, WWF unveiled a report which concluded that only 54 percent of businesses in the Heart of Borneo had heard of the government declaration. Once they learned more about the declaration, they were willing to be involved and felt that businesses and governments would have an important role to play, according to the “Business Solutions: Delivering the HoB Declaration” report.

"The report demonstrates that early progress has been made in realizing the Heart of Borneo vision,” said Malcolm Preston of PWC, the international business consultants that prepared the report for WWF. The firm’s global Sustainability and Climate Change team, including environmental specialists from the firm's Indonesia, Malaysia and the UK offices, conducted research and analysis with 84 businesses in the region for this project.

“Without business engagement, however, sustainable economic development will be an uphill struggle,” Preston said. “This is about working with business to build capacity and include them in a green growth economy, rather than excluding them, so that everyone in the area benefits."

The event in Indonesia was part of the 2011 Business for Environment (B4E) Forest Dialogue. It was the forerunner to the world’s leading international conference for business-driven action for the environment, scheduled for April 27-29, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Remarks from Al Gore
As one of the world’s most influential voices on the environment and climate change, Gore delivered an exclusive keynote address sharing his vision for the role of forests in a sustainable future.

“The beginning of the U.N. International Year of the Forests is the perfect time to have the impressive collaboration that this dinner and forthcoming B4E gathering between the business community, government leaders and NGOs represents,” Gore said.

In 2011, the United Nations’ International Year of Forests, the eyes of the world will be on Indonesia as one the most forest-rich nations on the planet. Businesses also will be under the spotlight for their role in saving the remaining globally significant tropical rainforests. WWF hopes that HoB-GBN initiative helps to ensure that this is not a year of just further discussion of the problems but a real chance to start delivering solutions.

Learn more about our work in Borneo