Nature Based Solutions Sdn. Bhd (NBS)(1395980-U) is a start-up that focuses on the development of green financing for the protection of forests in Peninsular Malaysia. NBSs’ work began as Hutanomics, a project incubated by Rimba, a non-profit conservation research group, to channel investments from the private sector into the 200,000 ha Kenyir watershed to create conservation outcomes and help companies meet their ESG/Sustainability commitments.
The organization's roots date back to the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project under Rimba, which aimed to protect and sustainably manage the forested landscapes of Kenyir surrounding the Kuala Berang highway.
Rimba has been operating in the landscape since 2010 and assisted in the arrest of 36 poachers in Kenyir, that was supported by training with the relevant government agencies to improve prosecution. Rimba’s workshops have connected wildlife department prosecution officers with judges, who have mentored them to become better at prosecuting wildlife crime.
In 2017, Rimba supported the development of the Terengganu State Park Enactment, a legislative tool which was used to create the state’s first State Park that covered an area of 30,000 ha within the 200,000 ha Kenyir watershed. The remaining 170,000 hectares still remain available for logging and potential deforestation risk. This led to the need to fund raise to manage, protect and expand the protected area. Efforts to realize this was conceptualized under a new project, “Kenyir For Life”. To achieve this, a new entity, NBS was established.
There is an urgent need to protect forests, not just for wildlife, but to sustain livelihoods dependent on Kenyir for ecosystem services. We need to develop alternative mechanisms to help protect the entire Kenyir watershed ‘for life’, while providing economic benefits to the state government. In 2020, Rimba proposed the creation of a “Green Financing Task Force” that was launched in April 2020. The task force is chaired by the Director for State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN), and the goal of the task force is to conduct studies, engage experts/ stakeholders, and develop recommendations for the state government on how to leverage on natural capital (intact forests) and enable green financing mechanisms that would incentivize forest protection. NBS aims to transform the way in which forests are viewed by state economies, which have been heavily reliant on natural resource extraction for income.