KOTA KINABALU: Forever Sabah Berhad (“Forever Sabah”) signed a Letter of Intent with CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad (“CIMB Islamic”) and communities of Babagon Water Catchment. The partnership, which is entering its second phase, is aimed at supporting the restoration of the main water catchment area comprising communities from Kampung Kolosunan, Kampung Babagon Toki and Kampung Tampasak with a commitment of RM500,000.
This regenerative conservation project is supported by CIMB Islamic’s EcoSave Savings Account-i (“EcoSave-i”), the Bank’s first environmentally-focused savings account, through which the bank contributes 0.2% of the total average portfolio balance to environmental causes.
The Babagon Water Catchment is an integral landscape of Sabah as it provides approximately 57% of Kota Kinabalu’s water supply, which impacts communities living within the area as well greater Kota Kinabalu population. Through the initiative, Forever Sabah and CIMB Islamic will be working closely to ensure Babagon Water Catchment will be a catalyst to advance more cost-effective and innovative ways in forest preservation and restoration, while contributing to alternative livelihoods and empowering the local restoration economy.
The partnership will leverage reforestation techniques that incorporate geotagging and remote sensing to enhance tree survival, whilst optimising resource allocation. This includes selective logging and harvesting to achieve equilibrium between economic and environmental objectives, in addition to fostering local income generation for long-term forest viability. It will also entail innovative citizen science monitoring and data analytics to capture real-time tracking of the forest ecosystem’s health and foster more data-driven decisions, which can help reduce operational costs.
Sustainable business models which include eco-tourism and agroforestry will ensure that conservation efforts remain economically self-sustaining in the long term. Together, these approaches exemplify a holistic and efficient strategy for land stewardship, benefitting both the environment and its communities.
Cynthia Ong, Chief Executive Facilitator of Forever Sabah said, “It has been wonderful witnessing the results of the communities’ hard work and traditional ecological knowledge as we review this first year of partnership with them. Syabas to the communities who are protecting this water source for hundreds of thousands of Sabahans.”
Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Islamic said, “We acknowledge the critical importance of conserving and restoring Babagon Water Catchment area as it serves as a vital ecosystem that provides clean water to the majority residents of Kota Kinabalu. As a financial intermediary that is actively driving ESG agenda, we want to ensure that the ecosystem and its communities’ livelihoods are sustainable for the future generations to benefit as we create long-term positive impacts to the environment and society as a whole.”
“Aligned to the principles of Value-Based Intermediation (“VBI”), we are pleased to have forged this meaningful partnership with Forever Sabah and communities of Babagon Water Catchment through our ongoing commitment in charting a path forward towards a brighter and more eco-conscious future,” concluded Shahriman.
Coinciding with the significant occasion, Forever Sabah together with CIMB Islamic also organised an Experiential Learning event as part of CIMB Group’s flagship The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2023 in Kampung Kolosunan. The event provided visitors and customers with a unique and immersive opportunity to experience the hidden gem of the Babagon Water Catchment, whilst shedding light on the surrounding communities’ dedication towards preserving its rich biodiversity and heritage. The specially curated experiential learning event also provided participants with hands-on experience in tree planting and forest conservation knowledge.