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Solar solutions for Borneo’s orangutans

ECOTOURISM & THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

We’re excited to be stepping up for the Orangutans of Borneo with our latest project helping The Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge. The lodge is an incredible place, dedicated to the education and empowerment of local communities in sustainable growth and long-term conservation, whilst also offering eco-tourists a chance to observe Borneo’s wild and endangered Orangutans.

As an Industrial Battery Company, SEC was in the perfect position to partner with Solar Power Indonesia (SPI) on this project. Together we’re providing renewable energy and an energy storage supply to help the lodge with its ecotourism and community based initiatives.

The equipment we supplied will provide Rimba with 70Kw of solar power, along with two 3000Ah super-premium CMT Series battery banks. This will allow the ecotourism organisation to become less reliant on the grid and to redirect valuable funds to helping those who need it most in Borneo.

SEC completed the project as part of our extended CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities and we couldn’t be more chuffed to have been able to help both the community and the wildlife of Borneo.

Chief Executive Officer of SEC Group, Heston Harper, calls the project “An excellent example of where our cutting edge green technologies can be found to be making paradigm shifts in the lifestyles of rural communities, by offering new means to conservation organisations and their projects.”

SPI: OUR PLATINUM PARTNERS

SEC Director, Duncan Low is enthusiastic about partnering with Solar Power Indonesia on this project, saying of the Platinum Partner, “Their greatness lies in their technical expertise and local intelligences. We are pleased to be working on a ton of like-minded projects together across the Indonesian Archipelago and hope to be doing much more of this in the region.”

Solar Power Indonesia shares many of SEC’s ethics. They are on a mission to reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels and provide renewable energy solutions that are affordable, making solar energy economically viable for businesses, communities and private enterprises across Asia and Indonesia.

As partners, SEC and SPI outfitted Rimba Eco Lodge with solar panels and batteries that are intended to provide primary power and energy storage for their “Save the Orangutans” project.  The project was undertaken in Borneo’s Tanjung National Park, along the Sekonyer River and and the timing couldn’t have been better.

PLIGHT OF THE ORANGUTANS

In Borneo, the World Wildlife Federation estimates that there are only about 40,000 Orangutans left in the wild.  This number represents a loss of one-third from just ten years ago. Sadly, the precious remaining Orangutans are in serious trouble.

This is mainly due to four factors:

  • Habitat loss (caused by rapid and widespread deforestation)
  • Palm oil (plantations require thousands of hectares of land to be bulldozed)
  • Poaching (Orangutans may be hunted for food, in violation of laws meant to protect them)
  • Illegal capture of infants (the pet trade sees mothers being slaughtered in order to take the baby for sale)

If something isn’t done, the combination of these factors will result in the extinction of wild Orangutans in as little as two and a half decades. The threat faced by Orangutans today is far greater than any other they’ve faced. Natural disasters, economic problems and human activity are inexorably pushing the orangutan toward the brink of extinction.

In just the past two decades, Orangutans have seen their habitat decline by 80%. SEC became aware that if these factors were not addressed in an aggressive, serious manner, the current rate of population decline will not be reduced quickly enough to save the Orangutans. Hence the prioritisation of the project.

ECOTOURISM AT RIMBA LODGE

At present, access to Rimba Eco Lodge is restricted to a boat ride through the jungle. Enthusiastic visitors call the slow trip ‘part of the adventure’, but an exciting Phase Two of this dual project commences soon with both companies starting design work on a solar powered boat.

This is going to be an amazing addition to the Lodge’s service artillery at its remote location on the Sekonyer River. The Rimba Eco Lodge is unique in that it’s one of the few places left in the world where ecotourists can explore the surrounding area and see Orangutans in the wild. Alongside the Orangutans, visitors to Rimba Eco Lodge have the possibility of encountering a wide variety of birds and an additional eight species of primates.

Ecolodges in Indonesia are dedicated to the education and engagement of the communities where they operate, and the Rimba Eco Lodge is no different. The goal is to provide each guest with a unique and memorable opportunity for ecotourism, while also teaching the nearby village of Tanjung Harapan about how to best protect the natural resources they have available.

Rimba Eco Lodge has two main initiatives. They are not only striving to protect some of the most endangered species in the world, they’re also endeavoring to provide education about the environment and conservation in  Tanjung Harapan’s Primary School. This will ultimately lead to a more educated and environmentally-conscious community for the future. The addition of solar power, means Rimba is better able to protect the land around the lodge, and redirect ecotourism funds to where they’re most needed.

OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

CEO, Heston Harper, maintains that “Being involved in such CSR projects is at the very heart of SEC’s brand values.”  It’s important to SEC because of a deeply founded respect for the earth and an awareness of the ongoing shift in consumer attitudes regarding ethical and sustainable business practices.

Consumers have access to larger platforms than ever to voice their discontent with unethical and unsustainable organizations. There is a whole new level of accountability for companies that are not socially responsible. In short, it’s nearly impossible today to appeal to a growing number of consumers if you’re not acting in a socially responsible manner. Organizations need to be focused on green energy and sustainability to future proof both the planet and their business interests.

SEC is very aware of this change in attitude and sees its investments in extensive CSR activities as a core part of its brand identity. We incorporate CSR into many aspects of our operation, with an understanding that such investments in public goodwill are beneficial for the company, as well as the communities where we operate.

With projects such as the one at Rimba Eco Lodge, SEC is focusing on providing assistance in the fight to save Orangutans from extinction. The benefits of such projects far outweigh their costs.

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