Businesses & the Heart of Borneo

How can business actively participate in greening the economy?

Businesses operating within the HoB can support the transition to the green economy by:

  • ensuring that their impact on the natural capital they depend upon is either minimized or positive
  • sharing information through platforms such as forums, roundtables or certifying organizations
  • becoming a transparent and accountable business
  • supporting public-private partnerships and devising innovative ways to finance and capitalise on conservation
  • becoming actively involved in the HoB Green Business Network (HoB GBN). The HoB GBN aims to bring together stakeholders to generate tools and provide support to businesses willing to work towards a sustainable future for the HoB.

Why is the Heart of Borneo Initiative important to business?

The economy in Borneo is largely dependent on the HoB’s natural capital. This dependency can result in negative impacts on natural capital, with important feedbacks to business.

Few industries take into consideration the costs of reduced or lost ecosystem services. Policies continue to incentivize extraction while external costs remain external.

The value of HoB ecosystems and biodiversity is poorly recognized because they are public goods and services without markets or prices.

‘Business-as-usual’ practices, based on unsustainable use of natural resources, are having negative impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity and on the quality of individuals’ health and livelihoods, not least among forest-dependent communities.

These impacts rarely respect sectoral boundaries and are imposing widespread external costs—or ‘externalities’—on other economic sectors and on society as a whole.

This report briefly presents the impacts and dependencies of sectors within the HoB including;


A variety of biodiversity-based business opportunities, as well as other innovative business opportunities related to renewable energy and recycling, can build local revenue, generating a more equal distribution of benefits and reducing environmental pressures.

Some examples of biodiversity-based business opportunities include:

Some examples of innovative green sectors include:

Greening high impact sectors

Large-scale, high-impact sectors, including logging, palm oil cultivation, mining, and hydropower require a range of investments to enhance their sustainability The following are discussed in the report:

Working together towards a future that benefits all

Success will require coordination and facilitation from policy makers, along with genuine commitment and responsibility from businesses, business associations, households, consumers and other stakeholders.

The report highlights critical next steps which can only be successful if HoB governments, business, civil society and media—with support from international development partners—join efforts to make the transition to a green economy a reality. The following actions are crucial to maintain momentum and ensure long-term commitment:

  • an active, government-led HoB Partnership Forum, with proactive involvement from other stakeholders;
  • creation of an HoB Centre of Excellence , which can provide input and support for analysis and generation of empirical evidence;
  • comprehensive, government-led, cross-sectoral Green Growth Assessment, which will form a strong basis for designing an integrated policy package;
  • an HoB Finance Facility that could combine financing from different sources and make it available for logistics, capacity building, data gathering, knowledge exchange, skill training, information transfer and conducting pilots.