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The Body Shop today unveils plans for its new Bio-Bridges programme which aims to regenerate 75 million square metres of forest and protect it from exploitation, poaching and unsustainable harvesting. Bio-Bridges regenerate and reconnect corridors between healthy rainforest, linking isolated and endangered animals and plant species, allowing them to again breed and thrive. Another integral part of the programme is to engage the local communities in the long term protection of the bio bridge habitat by helping to provide a more sustainable way of life from them for the people who live in and around the surrounding areas.

The Body Shop sources ingredients from all around the world. Protecting the bio-diversity of the world helps ensure a long-term, healthy and thriving environment for these ingredients, as well as protecting the planet from the effects of climate change. The Bio-Bridges programme is one element of The Body Shop’s Enrich Not Exploit™ Commitment, which aims to make The Body Shop the most ethical and truly sustainable global business in the world.

The first project is in Khe Nuoc Trong forest of North Central Vietnam, home of rare species such as the Red Shanked Douc, Saola (known as the Asian Unicorn and one of the rarest animals on earth), Bengal Slow Loris and Burmese Python. These species are threatened by hunting for food and medicine and illegally logged with nearby habitats still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam war.

Through an in-store and on-line campaign, ‘Help Reggie Find Love’, features Reggie, a Red-Shanked Douc from Vietnam, one of the species being given a chance to live safely and repopulate, customers will directly support the project. Every customer transaction will restore and protect one square metre of habitat in the forest. This playful campaign to find Reggie love will help bring this serious issue to life in an engaging and entertaining way.

The protected areas of forest will enable wildlife to travel safely across deforested or degraded lands, linking habitats and encouraging them to connect with each other and breed.

In this first project, The Body Shop is working with World Land Trust and its partner, Vietnam-based Viet Nature Conservation Centre, to protect the area and its wildlife through regular patrolling and utilising camera-traps. Viet Nature also works closely with the local community to encourage sustainable forest resource use and farming and with schools to encourage involvement.

Christopher Davis, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Campaigns, The Body Shop, says: “We want to focus on actively enriching the world’s bio-diversity. These areas of forest in Vietnam are biological treasure troves that are being destroyed through poaching and illegal logging. Bio-Bridges are an innovative way to create protected corridors of bio-diversity that allow the wider forest to flourish and its inhabitants to breed and thrive. In Vietnam, within five to 10 years we hope to be able to see endangered species multiply.

We’ll be promoting ‘Find Reggie Love’ online and in our stores in 65 countries around the world, helping raise awareness of this serious issue in a different way and allowing our customers to make a direct and positive impact with every purchase.”

The second Bio-Bridge project will begin in late 2016 in the Garo Hills of India. This project will also be delivered in partnership with World Land Trust and their partner Wildlife Trust of India.

The campaign will launch in The Body Shop stores globally this summer.