SCB donates $700,000 to HoB Project
By P Marilyn

The Heart of Borneo environmental project yesterday received a $700,000 (US$500,000) donation from Standard Chartered Bank Brunei.

The guest of honour was Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah ibni Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman.

Yesterday's donation was affirmed with Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah receiving a cheque from Ray Ferguson, SCB's Regional CEO for Southeast Asia.

She presented the cheque to Rodney Taylor from WWF. It was witnessed and acknowledged by Dato Paduka Awg Haji Hamdillah bin Haji Abdul Wahab, Chairman of Brunei's Heart of Borneo Council and Acting Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

Her Royal Highness has been a keen supporter of the environment. The Heart of Borneo project has received generous support through Her Royal Highness' patronage and commitment with projects such as the International School Brunei's (ISB) Million Trees Project in the past two years.

Brunei having won Standard Chartered's Greatest Race on Earth Environment Challenge in 2008, and in securing the $700,000 fund, SCB Brunei will be working hand-in- hand with WWF and the Heart of Borneo Council in administering the HoB Borneo environmental programme, a global initiative to conserve one of the most important natural habitats on our planet.

"As we celebrate our 50th year of operating in Brunei, I can't think of a better way for us to be giving back to the community and demonstrating our commitment to fighting climate change than this," said Ray Ferguson, said.

"Engaging employees, and raising awareness on environmental issues as well as acting as a force for good in the markets that we operate in across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, is an inherent part of our business," he said.

Tiew Siew Chuen, CEO of SCB Brunei, underscored the bank's determination to lead by example the markets in which the bank operates.

"As well as finding ways to drive economic growth, we also want to help protect the environment and to have a positive impact on the societies where we live and work," she said.

"The Greatest Race on Earth, race for a living planet is one initiative that has achieved 3.4 million pledges globally and US$1 million funding towards environmental initiatives to three winning countries, with Brunei being the top winner," she said.

She said the bank will continue to be a committed partner for the Brunei community and will strengthen the bank's sustainability programmes to support government initiatives, promote environmental protection and HIV awareness, as well as assist the visually impaired through SCB's Seeing is Believing initiative.

Dato Paduka Awg Haji Hamdillah sees this cooperation as an excellent example of partnership between the government, the corporate sector and an NGO.

"It is the sort of cooperation that helps make Brunei the beacon of the Heart of Borneo. Many of us put in a great deal of effort to ensure that Brunei would win the Greatest Race and I am delighted that we succeeded. We are going to show the world that we are in this for the long haul, and that we shall win the race to ensure a sustainable future for our natural environment," he said.

The first project to be allocated funding is the rehabilitation of Borneo's degraded peatland forests. It is an important step in reducing CO2 emissions, which will be undertaken in partnership with the British High Commission.

The second project is a biodiversity survey of the Sungai Ingei protection forest, leading to a better understanding of the state of wildlife in the forest, the existence of any new species, and new ways of preserving these.

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah plant a sapling that will be taken to the Heart of Borneo area.

Britain's Prince Charles, a longstanding supporter of rainforest preservation efforts in Borneo, who will be in the country on an official visit this week, is expected to visit an exhibition at a forest reserve. - Borneo Bulletin (27th Oct 2008)