Changemaker’s Quest: Arief Rabik, Impact Hero 2021, in Japan

Earth Company has supported Arief Rabik for almost 3 years now, since being selected as the 2021 Impact Hero of the Year. Originating from Indonesia, Arief is a changemaker who is taking on a massive vision to build 1,000 bamboo villages as a breakthrough solution to some of the world’s pressing issues: land degradation, climate change, rural poverty, and gender inequality.

From October 11th to 17th, Earth Company’s Impact Hero support team brought Arief to Japan. The main purpose of this trip was to seek potential supporters, collaborators, and funders to support his latest venture: the Bamboo Village Trust. As well as expanding Arief’s network of experts in agroforestry/bamboo/climate/land degradation.

 

What is the Bamboo Village Trust (BVT)? Arief has started a trust fund that will be used to establish bamboo villages across, not only Indonesia, but the entire world. Currently, Arief has partnered with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to expand the bamboo village vision to 12 countries by 2030, using the funds he collects from the BVT.

Here’s what Earth Company and Arief achieved during the week-long trip to Japan:

Meetings with potential supporters

16

Number of events held

2

Event Attendees 

177

Connections with experts and media

8

Overall, Earth Company’s trip Arief was a success and was very eventful—having gathered and introduced him to many of our Japanese supporters. Below are a few of the highlight we had with

1. Gathering in Japan

Themed “Creating a Regenerative Future through Business – Towards a World where People and Nature Prosper from the Forest”

The headline of the Japan trip was certainly the live event we held introducing Arief to Earth Company’s connections in Japan. A total of 60 people attended to hear Arief’s vision on how businesses can create regenerative futures where both people and nature can prosper.

2. Lecture at Suntory Japan

Visiting Suntory, known for its motto “Living with Water,” Arief delivered a lecture on how bamboo agroforestry rejuvenates forests, nurtures water, and discusses the regenerative and economic value of the bamboo villages. The lecture, titled “Regenerative business that prospers people, society, and nature together,” engaged 117 participants from across the organization–digitally and in-person.

In 2024, Earth Company will provide a corporate training program for around 260 second-year employees of the Suntory Group, in Bali.

3. Japan Bamboo Tour

Most of the days on the trip, Earth Company introduced Arief to several bamboo agroforestry-related professionals and organizations in Japan. Among others, we connected Arief with: Japanese bamboo crafting community, professors from Musashino University specializing in bamboo design, Japan’s ambassador for the Bamboo World Organization, and many more!

4. Visiting the International Tropical Timber Organization

The visit to ITTO aimed to showcase Arief’s Bamboo Village vision, emphasizing bamboo’s potential to substitute the current demand for wood. Discussions also touched upon potential collaborations, given Arief’s role as a Senior Advisor to the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, which had previously collaborated with ITTO on bamboo resource research in 2017.

5. Media Interview with “Ideas For Good”

In an interview with “IDEAS FOR GOOD,” an online magazine focusing on social good ideas, Arief highlighted innovative features of the Bamboo Village model and expressed the aspiration to establish a restoration economy that solves land degradation, climate change, and gender inequality, simultaneously.

Overall, Arief’s initiatives for the Bamboo Village Trust garnered positive responses from corporates, academia, and the public media. Earth Company has made preparations to secure sponsorships for the Bamboo Village Trust ahead of COP27, with more detailed announcements planned for the event. The multiple media interviews were conducted to amplify awareness of Arief’s initiatives. The key outcomes of this Japan trip include: establishing connections for funding, expertise, and networking resources.

Arief’s commitment to the “Bamboo Village” initiative—a model that generates economic value through the cultivation and processing of bamboo while rejuvenating degraded land and empowering marginalized communities—truly embodies the regenerative future envisioned by Earth Company.

In Japan, bamboo has often been associated with negative connotations due its invasive nature, however, we’re glad to see how Arief’s visit to Japan is able to change minds and show bamboo can be harnessed to save the world!

2023 is the final year where we will be supporting Arief. We will be publishing an impact report for Arief by the end of this year—so stay tuned!