Announcing Impact Hero 2021 and the Runner-up!

After taking a year to consolidate the learning from the first five years, Earth Company called for applications to Impact Hero 2021 in July 2020.  We received a record number of applications from 65 changemakers representing 17 countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Fiji in the east. 

The selection committee was impressed by the very high quality of candidates, especially the 10 finalists, this year.  All of them demonstrate unshakeable commitment to tackling some of the most pressing challenges of our times. The committee members were even moved to tears by the life stories of some candidates.  

With much anticipation and excitement, we are thrilled to share with you the Grand Winner and Runner-up of Impact Hero 2021!

 IMPACT HERO 2021 : Arief Rabik

Country: Indonesia
Organization: Environmental Bamboo Foundation


About Arief Rabik:

Arief is the President Director of Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) and the founder of the 1000 Bamboo Villages project. He is a second-generation bamboo specialist, entrepreneur and scientist who is as capable and comfortable getting his hands dirty helping local producers on the ground as he is working with corporate leaders in the boardroom and politicians in national capitals to bargain for scalable policy and financial support to turn his vision into reality.  

EBF was originally founded in 1993 by his legendary interior designer mother, Linda Garland, who saw bamboo’s many positive qualities – flexibility, environmental friendliness, rapid and relatively easy propagation – as a solution to many problems in the world such as land degradation and climate change, and found her true calling in establishing bamboo as a viable replacement building material internationally.

About Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF):

The Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) is a non-profit organization with 30 years of experience working in the field of bamboo with a breakthrough strategy to solve two of the world’s most pressing issues – climate change and land degradation. 

Simultaneously, its solution creates economic opportunities for rural areas and promoting gender & social inclusion by creating large markets for bamboo to be used in building material, clothing, furniture, and more. 

EBF aims to restore degraded lands around the world with bamboo agroforestry by first establishing 1,000 Bamboo Villages in Indonesia and then scaling the model to 9 other tropical countries within Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa.

The goal is to set up 1,000 bamboo villages in Indonesia by 2029 and scale it to 9 other countries to build 10,000 bamboo villages in total by 2036. This will absorb 3% of the current global annual CO2 emissions and restore 20 million ha (1%) of the degraded lands throughout the world. 

Reasons for selecting Arief Rabik as Impact Hero 2021

Above all, the selection committee was deeply moved and inspired by his grand bamboo village vision that could make tangible contributions to climate change and multiple other outcome areas. His vision and work serve as a source of hope and inspiration for all in this age when we are constantly reminded of the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis and environmental degradation.

Towards this hopeful future, he and his team at EBF have already demonstrated success in Flores, empowering women and youth, improving the livelihoods of villages, restoring massive areas of degraded land, and sequestering carbon through impressive bamboo forests. With a number of villages in the team’s portfolio, the 1,000 bamboo village initiative seems to be on the cusp of scale up and substantial impact.

The selection committee also found his personality to be authentic and his passion unshakeable. He is amazingly adaptive and versatile: he loves being in the field with the villagers in eastern Indonesia and, literally on the next day, he would be in Jakarta rubbing elbows with corporate executives and key policy makers.

IMPACT HERO 2021 Message from Arief

A video message from Arief, shortly after informing him of the decision


“I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say, but thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to work together to empower the farmers of Indonesia and around the world to restore their degraded lands and build this beautiful village-based industrial systems, this amazing forests that will supply us fibers, fuels and food of the future. So here is to our success!”

RUNNER-UP : Randi Julian Miranda

Country: Indonesia
Organization: Handep

About Randi and his work:

Randi is a prominent young Dayak figure in the field of sustainability, social entrepreneurship and indigenous rights advocacy. He is the Founder & CEO of Handep, a social enterprise that empowers Indigenous Dayak women and smallholder farmers through sustainable livelihoods and regaining their basic rights to lands and forests. Randi is also an avid environmentalist and community development practitioner, with extensive experience in project management, conservation, sustainable business, research and communication. He obtained his Master’s degree in Environmental Study (specialising in Sustainable Development) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2018.

After years of equipping himself with the knowledge and skill sets he needed, Randi decided to dedicate his life to support his community in Borneo Island whose life spaces are under threat. Through Handep, Randi strives to improve the local economy, especially for forest-dependent communities and preserve the rainforests, not only for the biodiversity and conservation value, but for the future of humanity. His current works focus on providing sustainable alternative livelihoods using local resources and regaining the rights of Indigenous Dayaks to their customary forests which are continuously converted for the overdevelopment of extractive industry.