Example on Sustainable Development – Oil Palm and Orang Utans

This article in New Scientist provides a good overview of how parties with apparent different agendas can collaborate to create a win-win outcome.

Excerpt from the article:

Banking on Biodiversity
Biodiversity-rich, cash-poor countries are coming up with ways to make conservation sustainable.

In 2008, Malaysia became the first such nation to launch a scheme to allow private investment in the rainforest that would generate “conservation dollars” – money specifically set aside for conservation. The scheme is voluntary, but the government is considering making such investment a requirement for land developers.

The Malua Biobank, which differs from the biobanks established in other countries to bank genetic material, covers a 34,000-hectare forest reserve in Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, which buffers virgin rainforest from palm oil plantations. It sells conservation certificates for 100 square metres of forest at $10 each, making a total possible fund of $34 million. Of this, 20 per cent will create an endowment fund to restore the previously logged forest, says Darius Sarshar of New Forests, an international environmental investment management group with offices in Malaysia that advises Malua Biobank.

Buyers can either “retire” their certificates, effectively making a donation, or put them into a trading account. Once the endowment fund is secured, any additional profits will be split between the investors and the government.

The scheme is unlikely to compete with traditional stock markets, however, and so far the biobank has relied on companies wanting to reinvent their environmental image. Initial sales have been sluggish – it has sold 21,500 certificates for a total of $215,000, all to logging companies – but that will change if the government makes the scheme mandatory.

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Filed under Conservation, Ecology, Ethics

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