Our Mission, in both the Borneo Futures Initiative and in the Company, is to conduct robust scientific studies that inform policies, decision-making and public opinion about reconciling wildlife conservation with fair and equitable development.
Our code of conduct
Fulfilling our mission is more important than protecting our organization or generating profits. Borneo Futures was set up to make a difference, with improved environmental and wildlife management on Borneo, and positive impact on global environmental conservation, our key goals. If we fail to be influential, we adapt and change our approach. If that doesn’t help, we will dissolve our organization.
We believe in full transparency throughout our operations, fair and equitable policies with regard to our staff and clients, and scientifically proven measures of effectiveness and efficiency that guide our work. We are open to criticism and happy to discuss our approaches and thinking, as long as discussions stay civilized and polite.
Some of the key issues surrounding ‘sustainable’ development, revolve around societal questions of what is the ‘right’ thing to do in terms of choices between development and preservation of nature. Such choices often involve trade-offs. A ban on palm oil may be good for orangutans in Borneo and soy farmers in Brazil, but bad for poor people for whom it is the only affordable oil for their cooking or for smallholders for whom it is the main source of income. Unfortunately, the world isn’t black and white. Borneo Futures is trying to identify the nuances, and to find optimum ways to manage resources which benefit society as a whole, and not just company shareholders. Not an easy thing to do when different people have different values.
Working with different land users
Borneo Futures work with different land users, including protected areas managers, the oil palm industry, and rural communities to better understand the circumstances under which these different forms of land management can generate optimal environmental and social outcomes. We work on the ground to develop better wildlife management practices and to ensure that land is used with minimal environmental and social impacts.
Since our early beginnings in 2010 the focus of Borneo Futures has always been on the island of Borneo. We have chosen Brunei Darussalam as the base for us to work from for a number of reasons. Firstly, Brunei holds a relatively neutral political role with regard to Malaysia and Indonesia. Secondly, Bandar Seri Begawan is one of the few cities on Borneo which retains areas of relatively intact lowland and mangrove forest within and close to the city limits, thus making it possible to walk out of our front door and into the rainforest within minutes, or see monkeys and eagles from our office window. If only the rest of Borneo had that luxury! Thirdly, we enjoy working with Brunei’s excellent university graduates on a range of environmental issues.
Science and communication
There is no point in conducting endless scientific studies and writing endless scientific papers unless we have real impact which leads to change. Over the years we have been active in science-based advocacy through newspaper articles, an active social media presence, and engagement with organizations like the IUCN, especially through its Primate Specialist Group and Oil Palm Task Force.
For more graphic information about the Borneo Futures Initiative and the impact it has had, click here