Reza is the founder and Executive Director of Wild Asia. He has over 10 years experience in botanical research (floristics, taxonomy and ethnobotany), and in issues relating to biodiversity conservation (protected areas, sustainability standards and trade). He is a certified ISO 140001 (Environmental Management) and RSPO Lead Auditor and has developed his audit experience in both forestry and oil palm certification assessments using FSC (forestry), MTCC (forestry), and RSPO (oil palm). An individual member of RSPO since 2006, Reza was amongst the early external experts involved in assessing Malaysian plantations against the RSPO Principles & Criteria.
Reza is also a registered practitioner and lead assessor in the HCV Resource Network and sits on the technical committee for the Global HCV Network. He has led several multi-disciplinary teams conducting HCV assessments for both forest concessionaires and oil palm plantations.
Since 2007, Reza has been developing initiatives to directly help the oil palm industry understand and implement sustainable practices. This includes the Stepwise Support Programme run in partnership with ProForest (UK) which provides RSPO certification support to palm oil producers, and risk management for palm oil users. Our work in oil palm is now formally called Technical Support Programme and Wild Asia is currently one of the few organisations providing technical support to both large and small producers. Wild Asia has also developed experience in assisting smallholders to meet the RSPO certification
Reza has applied his practical knowledge to a number of other initiatives including the development of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Initiative, which promotes the use of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. He also pioneered several training programmes aimed at practitioners: Biodiversity for Busy Managers which provides practical guidance for plantation managers.
Reza and the work of Wild Asia has been covered extensively in the Malaysian and International media.
Gonthong joined Wild Asia in 2010 with more than 10 years of experience managing and directing environmental education programmes. In her current role as General Manager, Gonthong facilitates Wild Asia’s working process. She also develops and conducts training programmes for Responsible Tourism and Biodiversity for Busy Managers.
Prior to joining Wild Asia, Gonthong was involved in environmental education training and workshops for teachers, government officers, and NGOs throughout Thailand and its neighbouring countries. She has more than 15 years experience in environmental education. In her previous role as Programme Director in Thailand, Gonthong developed hand-on activities, teachers’ manuals, and curriculums for energy conservation projects in schools.
The scope of her work includes leading the Wild Asia technical team in conducting baseline assessments , field audits, EIA assessments as well as baseline assessments on current plantation operations against RSPO Principles & Criteria and risk assessments for the supply chain operations. In addition Gonthong also conducts training and workshops for these various industry players designed to raise awareness, provide information, guide plantation managers in practical implementation of environmental impacts management on the ground and understanding of sustainability requirements for sustainable palm oil delivery
Gonthong has a BSc in Marine Science from Kasetsart University and an MA in Environmental Biology from Mahidol University in Thailand.
Sheila is a technical program manager with Wild Asia. She has a science background, having graduated with a degree in Chemistry and having worked as a chemist for a considerable part of her 12 year career. Prior to joining Wild Asia, she worked as a Program Manager for the Chemicals, Materials & Food division at Frost & Sullivan Consultancy. Sheila brings with her knowledge in the chemical and consulting field in driving towards sustainability within the palm oil industry.
Within Wild Asia, she is primarily responsible for the delivery of advisory and consulting services for a wide range of industry participants within Wild Asia’s Technical Support Programme (TSP) for Oil Palm. The aim of these technical services is to offer support, advice and guidance in their efforts to address key social, environmental and health and safety issues. The scope of her work includes leading the Wild Asia technical team in conducting baseline assessments , field audits, H&S and EIA assessments as well as baseline assessments on current plantation operations against RSPO Principles & Criteria and risk assessments for the supply chain operations. In addition Sheila also conducts training and workshops for these various industry players designed to raise awareness, provide information, guide plantation managers in practical implementation of social and environmental impacts management on the ground and understanding of supply chain requirements for sustainable palm oil delivery. She is also currently involved in Wild Asia’s initiative in delivering smallholder group certification (RSPO) for small farmers under the Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS) programme.
She has also successfully completed the RSPO Lead Auditor Course in April 2011 and the OHSAS18001 Course (OH&S Management System Lead Auditor Course) in June 2011.
WA Role: Technical Advisor
Expertise: Ecologist, Wetlands, Ornithology
John is an ecologist who has lived and worked throughout Asia since 1984. He has been involved in projects more or less since the start of Wild Asia, focusing on biodiversity assessments in plantation and natural ecosystems for RSPO accreditation programmes; HCV assessments; environmental education programmes; and, development of conservation programmes for plantation companies.
John has experience of conservation project planning and implementation in most Asian countries, with extensive experience in wetland ecology through his various role(s) as scientific officer, training programme coordinator, communications officer and senior technical officer with Wetlands International (between 1984 and 1997).
Among many other publications, John authored the pioneering field manual for “Shorebird Studies” and enjoys learning from and sharing his knowledge with anyone who has an interest in Asian wildlife.
As a Wild Asia Advisor, John has conducted multiple trainings (focusing on managing biodiversity in the plantations), Environmental Impact Assessment, and Biodiversity surveys for various clients including oil palm corporations. John holds a BSc (Hons) Ecology in Biological Science from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Sumei is an environmental biologist trained in development studies, and has worked within the natural resource sector for the last 10 years. Specialising on the social aspects of development, Sumei has conducted research and assessments on certification systems; land and resource tenure issues where it concerns local and indigenous communities in Malaysia and Indonesia; as well as labour issues in Malaysia.
Her auditing experience focuses on social aspects of certification systems using the FSC for forestry, and the RSPO P&C for oil palm. She is trained in the Social Accountability International’s SA8000 social auditing standards.
Besides research on land and resource tenure issues, Sumei has also conducted research on agribusiness and human rights in Malaysia; and researched joint-venture and smallholder oil palm business models in Sabah and Sarawak, amongst others.
As a Wild Asia Director & Advisor, Sumei has conducted multiple social assessments (focusing on labour, land and communities) and training programmes for various clients including oil palm corporations, development agencies, government departments and NGOs. Sumei holds a MSc in Environment and Development from the University of East Anglia.
WA Role: Technical Programme Associate
Expertise: Biodiversity Assessment & Environmental Education
Dave combines over twenty years’ experience in education with a lifelong passion for the natural world, in his work as a Biodiversity Associate for Wild Asia.
Currently Dave coordinates the Biodiversity for Busy Managers initiative, a joint project between the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and Wild Asia to help plantation managers learn how to enhance biodiversity within plantation landscapes. His collaboration with Wild Asia has also included the production of an EE course for primary students.
Claudine is an experienced project manager and consultant with over 10 years’ experience in natural resource management and sustainable development. Her technical background includes sustainable forest management, pro-poor forest sector reform, forest conservation, sustainable rural livelihoods, social inclusion, community-based tourism, ecotourism and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Claudine has a proven track record of successfully managing projects for international donors such as the World Bank, European Commission and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). She has experience of working with a range of stakeholders including development agencies, governments, private sector, national and international NGOs, and community based organisations. Claudine has worked extensively in Asia, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe, Australia, Africa and South America.