Southeast Asia is the planet’s epicenter of marine biodiversity, with more than half of the world’s coral and mangrove species that house over 1,300 species of fish, and an awe-inspiring array of wildlife.
In the Coral Triangle alone, more than 130 million people are directly dependent on its marine resources for food and livelihoods.
Despite its importance to both nature and people, the world’s most diverse treasure trove of marine life is under serious threat.
Coral reefs are bleaching from the impacts of climate change, mangroves are disappearing from unsustainable coastal development, and fish populations are declining from overfishing.
As an extension of its commitment to co-create sustainable solutions and empower communities, Epson Southeast Asia partners with WWF to scale marine conservation impact and climate solutions across Southeast Asia by working with youths, citizen scientists, as well as businesses and local communities.
The partnership is focusing on scaling coral restoration efforts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, as well as mangrove restoration in the Philippines. By working with local stakeholders and institutions, these restoration efforts aim to support and restore the critically important marine ecosystem health that we all depend on, while building capacity among local communities as key stakeholders in the long-term maintenance and management of their coastal resources.
Increasingly frequent and catastrophic impacts of climate change are felt keenly in Southeast Asia, with Viet Nam consistently ranked as one of the most climate-vulnerable countries. The goal of the partnership is to influence businesses and consumers in Viet Nam to support the transition towards a low-carbon economy – by establishing a business case for decarbonisation and net-zero goals.
Collaborations with the local teams of Epson Southeast Asia are expected to deliver education programmes that will include webinars on sustainable consumer spending, virtual museums on reduction of energy consumption and carbon footprint, as well as a forest protection campaign.
Singapore – The partnership will support a pilot habitat restoration programme within Singapore’s Southern Islands. Led by local partners and the community, the programme will apply lessons learned from past research to restore a degraded reef area. It will also be designed to bolster citizen science opportunities, education and public outreach that contributes to the objectives of Singapore’s Marine Conservation Action Plan and the Singapore Blue Plan.
Philippines – Local capacity building efforts will focus on mangrove restoration and protection in Southern Palawan, including seed planting, monitoring and assessment, coastal resource management planning and more. To ensure the longevity of restoration efforts by coastal communities, a Community Learning and Innovation Hub focused on mangrove restoration will be established. This is part of a network that empowers communities to sustain capacity building, share best practices and exchange practitioner knowledge.
Indonesia – Focusing on reef rehabilitation and responsible marine tourism in Indonesia’s Alor Marine Protected Area, an important marine habitat that suffered declining coral life due to fish bombing, Epson will lend its support to WWF-Indonesia, enabling collaboration with local stakeholders to develop reef rehabilitation using the rockpile method.
Beyond ecological restoration, the initiative will improve the livelihoods of local communities through dive tourism with restored corals, and increase awareness on Responsible Marine Tourism through virtual activities and social media challenges.
Malaysia – Engaging a local youth environmental group called Mabul Climate Leaders, Epson will support WWF-Malaysia to roll out coral restoration efforts using the spider frame methods on Mabul Island. Famous as a diving hotspot due to its pristine waters full of marine biodiversity, selected youth in Mabul Island will be trained and certified as Eco divers to plant coral fragments and monitor their growth, as part of wider coral restoration efforts in Sabah, Malaysia.
Thailand – Since the late 1990s to early 2000s, various stakeholders and communities have transplanted coral fragments to increase coral colonies in the Sattahip district of Chonburi Province, one of the most important high biodiversity reef sites in the Gulf of Thailand. Supporting WWF-Thailand to maintain restoration activities, Epson will help sustain a successful initiative that has made the site a popular learning centre for marine science and conservation.
Viet Nam – To raise greater awareness of climate change repercussions and influence transformative business decisions, Epson and WWF, in collaboration with local partner, Viet Nam’s Chamber of Commerce, and Industry (VCCI) will host a series of business engagement events. An enterprise education effort focuses on sustainable energy and carbon footprint reduction, Epson and WWF aims to mobilise different sectors and industries towards a low-carbon economy – by establishing a business case for decarbonisation and net-zero goals.