Committed to strengthening communities and protecting the environment, Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. (CTEP), Chevron (Thailand) Limited (CTL), and Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC) launch the ‘Foster Future Forests’ project, in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Rayong Provincial Government, other government agencies, academic institutions, and local communities in Rayong. The project’s objective is to initiate ecological restoration at a 100-rai under-developed area of the ‘Phra Chedi Klang Nam’ mangrove forests, situated in Pak Nam subdistrict, Mueang district, Rayong province, starting with the expansion of green space to aid in carbon sequestration. The project aims to promote economic and environmental sustainability in Rayong through nature-based solutions. The area is also aimed to serve as a model for future ecological restoration efforts in other locations.
Mangrove forests play a crucial role in storing greenhouse gases. According to data from the DMCR, the carbon sequestration rate of mangrove forests in Thailand is 9.4 tCO2eq/rai/year. Unfortunately, the loss of mangroves in Rayong is on an upward trend. ‘Foster Future Forests’ project represents a significant step towards ecological restoration in Rayong. The project’s 10-year roadmap comprises five phases: designing a science-based urban forest restoration plan, establishing knowledge assets for local communities in carbon credit management, implementing a monitoring and evaluation framework, conducting a research study on potential impact and changes and raising awareness among the public. The activities are also expected to foster a sense of environmental stewardship among the local populace, the three companies’ employees, and the surrounding communities at large.
The project places particular emphasis on community engagement. Activities will involve local schools, and career opportunities for the local communities will be strengthened, thus improving their prospect of higher income. The evaluation of the project’s outcomes will leverage technological innovations such as drones to ensure scientific rigor and efficiency. Attendees of the launch event get to observe and participate in the activities from NASA’s GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program, demonstrating how to apply STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to environmental studies. A number of local schools and communities also participate. As clearly shown, the project’s sustainability is founded on robust networking and modern technology.
Mr. Robert Joseph Dobrik, Chief Executive Officer at Star Petroleum Refining PCL., said that “As a company that operates in Rayong, caring for the environment and promoting local economic growth are integral to our mission. At every step of the project, we work closely with government agencies and local communities, including the DMCR, Rayong Provincial Government, Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment in Rayong, Marine Office Rayong Branch, Rayong Provincial Fisheries Office, and Tourism Authority of Thailand – Rayong Office, as well as local administrative organizations and conservation groups. Together, we design a development plan for the area to be restored into urban forests or ecological lungs of Rayong. Additionally, we plan to establish a mangrove forest learning center and involve local schools in activities aimed at nurturing environmental awareness among the younger generation. We will also promote the development of guidelines for local mangrove forest conservation, integrating them into educational curriculums. These efforts will lay a foundation for occupational skills in ecotourism and carbon credit management, ensuring long-term sustainability.”
Mr. Chatit Huayhongtong, President of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. said, “All of Chevron’s social responsibility projects prioritize sustainability through cooperation with all related parties: the public sector, academic institutions, and local communities. One notable aspect of the project is that it conducts research studies to develop the body of knowledge necessary for enriching mangrove forests while considering Rayong’s geographical and ecological conditions. Modern technology also plays a crucial role in various aspects of the project. Our strong academic network comprises the International Association for the Future STEM Workforce (IAFSW), the Faculty of Forestry at Kasetsart University, the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies at Mahidol University, and Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization, as well as several other government agencies. Together, we customize project planning for this specific mangrove forest, monitor and evaluate ecological and environmental outcomes, and calculate carbon sequestration offsets. We believe that the human energy from all parties will drive the urban reforestation project to success.”
Mr. Shashank Nanavati, Country Chairman and General Manager of Chevron (Thailand) Limited (CTL), said “Creating opportunities that can help to progress the goal to reduce carbon intensity is of importance for Chevron (Thailand) Limited, the marketer of Caltex brand in Thailand. CTL is committed to enhancing the well-being of communities and protecting the environment while sustainably growing our business of distributing a wide range of fuels and lubricants under the Caltex brand, throughout our 75 years in Thailand. ‘Foster Future Forests’ project is a key collaboration between CTEP, CTL and SPRC, working together to propel efforts to reduce carbon and advance towards a lower carbon society. Our mangrove reforestation efforts aim to increase green space for ecological balance and enrich the abundance of forest resources. To achieve these goals, we believe that strong collaboration among all parties including the private and public sectors as well as the partnership between 3 companies plays a vital role in the success of the Foster Future Forests project. Participation of the employees of the 3 companies in the project through knowledge and skill sharing and volunteering will not only promote awareness but will also build and strengthen the employees’ relationships.”
Mr. Kamthorn Wehon, Rayong Deputy Governor, added that, “As a representative of the people in Rayong, I am very glad to see that energy companies like CTEP, CTL, and SPRC care about environmental sustainability and our local communities. Mangrove forests are crucial resources for Rayong, serving as a tourist attraction, a wildlife habitat, and a vital defense against coastal erosion and storm surges. I believe that the project will provide the local communities with not only direct benefits from the restoration of the local mangrove forest ecology but also indirect benefits through new career opportunities and stronger environmental stewardship.”
Mr. Talerngsak Petchsuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Acting Director General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said, “The DMCR’s goal of restoring 300,000 rai of mangrove forests in 23 provinces within 10 years, from 2022 to 2031, for the purposes of greenhouse gas sequestration and carbon credits, would not have been possible without cooperation from every party, namely local government agencies, local communities, and the private sector. ‘Foster Future Forests’ project is an example of how to involve multiple parties in restoring mangrove forests sustainably. The project offers numerous benefits, such as increasing forested areas, enriching the abundance of forest resources, reinforcing ecological integrity, and creating new economic opportunities. Additionally, the mangrove forests will serve as a substrate on which traditional occupations can thrive, generating income and other benefits for the local populace.”
The ‘Foster Future Forests’ project marks another milestone in which Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. (CTEP), Chevron (Thailand) Limited (CTL), and Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC) and the public sector join forces to increase green spaces for carbon sequestration, restore urban forests, and replenish essential resources for local communities. The project represents a new beginning, the next step in accumulating knowledge and guidelines for ecological restoration at other locations. The mangrove forests restored by the project is aimed to serve as a model of greenhouse gas sequestration for other sites in Thailand in the years to come.