ecoCare and ecoCare Environmental Education Centre
PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad
Environmental conservation programme ecoCare covers 11,000m2 of mangroves along the banks of the Kertih River and attracts more than 4,000 visitors to its Environmental Education Centre annually
INTRODUCTIONInitiated in 2005, the ecoCare programme is fully funded by PCG and managed by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS). The initiative involves the reforestation and rehabilitation of ecologically sensitive mangrove habitat along Sungai Kertih in Terengganu, Malaysia. ecoCare is PCG’s signature CSR programme with an investment allocation of more than RM10 million to be utilised between 2005 and 2019. When the volunteer programme started in March 2006, about 30 volunteers from three villages worked together with PCG and MNS in planting the mangrove trees. Phase one of the project witnessed the reforestation and rehabilitation of ecologically sensitive mangrove habitat and coastal vegetation along the Kertih River. The phase also included ecosystem management activities promoting community participation. ecoCare continued its focus on the implementation of environmental education programmes and curriculum through the setting up of the Environmental Education Centre (EEC). The first of its kind in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the EEC features exhibits and information relating to the Kertih River ecosystem and Kertih’s unique coastal terrain and biodiversity. It also serves as a resource centre with facilities that promote awareness and understanding of environmental conservation amongst school children, teachers and the community.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYAs the Kertih River is within close proximity to PETRONAS’s 12 plants and facilities in Kertih, we took it upon ourselves to contribute back to the ecosystem that houses our facilities. ecoCare ensures that the habitat along the river and its vicinity is constantly monitored and maintained. With the setup of EEC, its commitment is beyond funding the ecoCare project alone. PCG aims to ensure that EEC serves as a resource centre with facilities to promote awareness and understanding of environmental conservation amongst schoolchildren, teachers, researchers and the community at large. Its core strategic initiatives for 2005 until 2019 encompasses promoting conservation and rehabilitation of ecologically sensitive habitat along the Kertih River through environmental education, transforming of minds and sensitivity attitude at all community levels in terms of conservation and rehabilitation of environment, building relationship and cooperation between local and international universities, and building and improving the capability of EEC in terms of facilities, human resources, system expertise and processes so that the personnel manning EEC are competent, professional, excellent and are at par with international standards. ecoCare volunteers are the backbone of the project, thus supporting all activities in EEC. The selection of the ecoCare registered committee is organised during the biannual General Meeting.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTTo date, over 11,000 square meters of mangrove forest along the Kertih River have been replanted with more than 9,000 mangrove seedlings. Out of that number, more than 7,000 mangrove trees have managed to survive. Supported by some 250 volunteers from neighbouring villages, the centre has flourished as a popular environmental hub which attracts schoolchildren, teachers, researchers and the community at large. The ecoCare EEC commenced its operations in February 2014. As of April 2015, 85 organisations have visited the centre making the total number of visitors 4,200 thus far. By increasing local awareness on the importance of mangrove rehabilitation, the EEC is instrumental in driving community participation through the role of ecoCare volunteers who support all environmental education programmes.
FUTURE DIRECTIONThe EEC Sustainability Plan 2013 – 2019’s focus and strategic targets are to achieve the centre’s vision and mission, outlining a work plan for EEC staff to improve the effort, mechanism and evaluation of programmes that can be implemented to achieve the targeted goal. In the future, PCG hopes to excel further in the area of environmental awareness and conservation. PCG’s role as a responsible corporate citizen drives us to share best practices and inspire the community to protect Mother Nature. PCG hopes to achieve greater milestones in all efforts in upholding the limitless virtues of a clean and safe environment. In the subsequent years, PCG will continue to ensure that we have the people’s interest as our utmost priority and we continue to believe in achieving our commercial objectives while carrying out our responsibility towards sustainable socio-economic development and the environment. High, sustained performance and environmental stewardship must go hand-in-hand.
PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) is the leading integrated chemicals producer in Malaysia and one of the largest in South East Asia. Listed on Bursa Malaysia and with three decades of experience in the chemicals industry, PCG is established as part of the PETRONAS Group to maximise value from Malaysia’s natural gas resources. It is committed to ensuring that its business practices are in line with globally recognised standards for Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) practices.