Separate from its offset partnership, the relationship with CI also includes a major program to permanently protect the Sovi Basin, Fiji’s most important land ecosystem, from logging.
The Sovi Basin, located on the Fiji island of Viti Levu, covers over 50,000 acres of land and is the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Fiji. Fiji lies within the Polynesia/Micronesia biodiversity hotspot – one of 34 such hotspots around the world -- and is home to a number of unique and diverse species.
“As consumers become more environmentally aware and active, they are looking toward leadership brands like FIJI Water that support their efforts to live a greener lifestyle and reduce their own environmental footprint," said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. "We applaud FIJI Water for offsetting the climate impact of its products, reducing the impact of its operations, and funding crucial conservation efforts that support local communities and protect some of the last remaining forests in the South Pacific."
The FIJI Water Foundation, launched through a grant from FIJI Water owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick and supported by contributions from 700 FIJI Water employees around the world, will provide funding to endow a Sovi Basin trust fund. Stewart Resnick is also a member of the board of directors at Conservation International.
As part of this conservation effort, CI’s Global Conservation Fund will also donate funding toward the trust fund. Revenues from the fund will support the annual management costs of Sovi Basin, compensate communities for revenue that could have been generated from logging, and cover the annual lease payments to the Sovi Basin landowners. The revenues will also fund a small grants facility that will support community development activities. The National Trust of Fiji is responsible for management of the Sovi Basin, and will receive and administer revenues from the fund. This ambitious effort to preserve the Fijian rainforest will ensure that about ten million tons of CO2 stored in the forest will remain out of the atmosphere in perpetuity. According to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this is the equivalent of about 2 million passenger cars not being driven 12,000 miles.
“We applaud FIJI Water's leadership and corporate responsibility in committing to making their operations carbon [negative] and also contribution to protecting Fiji's natural resources," says Fiji's Environment Minister Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau. "We hope other businesses in Fiji will be encouraged to follow FIJI Water's example."
“The heart and soul of our brand and the integrity of our product all depend on preserving one of the last remaining virgin ecosystems on Earth,” said Mooney. “By endowing a Sovi Basin trust fund, we will be able to protect one of Fiji’s most important natural watersheds, maintain the global climate benefits associated with this rainforest, and continue to provide significant benefits to the village communities around the Sovi Basin. In addition, the FIJI Water Foundation is funding the study and protection of the Yaqara Valley watershed, home to FIJI Water source.”