You know that well-versed saying, ‘enjoy the journey’? Well, here at Wild Philanthropy we really do abide by that philosophy. Our Conservation Journeys are intended to be part of a much bigger journey, a life-long commitment to conservation. And like every good road trip, we recognise the benefits that come from sharing the driving with like-minded people, who share our goals and our vision. I’ve been following the growth of The Long Run, a UK based not-for-profit organisation since its inception in 2009.
The Members of The Long Run are on the front line of conservation, working in the field in remote places around the world. It started as an initiative of the Zeitz Foundation, a creation of leading philanthropist Jochen Zeitz. In his 30s, in his role as CEO of Puma, Jochen conceived and developed the first ever Environmental Profit & Loss account (E P&L). Whilst at Puma, the importance of the environment came to the forefront of his mind, as did the belief that you can make a profit and do good. For an eco-business to survive it needs to be commercially viable, and that tourism and privately-owned land can be used as a force for good.
The Long Run currently has 31 Members and 27 Affiliates in 21 countries. It’s a community of like-minded conservationists who’ve come together to inspire and support each other, thereby helping them to each expand their individual positive impact. They range from one-man band start-ups to larger, more established organisations. We’ve all signed The Long Run charter, committing to the organisation’s 4C philosophy of balancing Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce, and pledging to nurture TLR’s long-term plans. Wild Philanthropy’s role as an Affiliate is to share our skills and experience in conservation and tourism, whilst promoting and supporting the Members. The Members are categorised as Fellow Members – individuals, camps, and lodges who manage or significantly influence the management of a conservation area – and as Global Ecosphere Retreats®, members who have achieved the GER® Standard. They are recognised by the Global Sustainability Tourism Council as businesses that are exceptionally motivated to be a force for greater good, and are, or aspire to be, the best of the best in sustainable tourism.
As The Long Run grew, they realised that the members wanted to evolve, and that the GER® Standard gave them something to work towards. It helped them to set goals, measure growth and reward themselves when targets were met. To be proud, reflect and celebrate key achievements. Fellow Members are given five years to reach the GER® Standard, and GER® Retreats are reassessed every three years. They are constantly tweaking, and improving, the Long Run’s membership meaning something different for each Member/ Affiliate. The larger established Members nurture the smaller ones, providing them with technical assistance and experience-based knowledge, from how to overcome public policy to solar and off-grid water initiatives. The new Members bring fresh energy and innovative ideas.
Our role as an Affiliate involves sharing travel planning skills and a business-to-consumer connection, introducing our conservation-minded clients to The Long Run Members. We’ve collaborated with TLR on a 4C’s-focused Kenya itinerary, working with Members in the Maasai Mara and Laikipia region. This Long Run Conservation Journey will showcase the latest exciting and innovative conservation projects and personalities in East Africa. It’s for people who are in it for the long run, who feel it’s their calling, a lifelong vision. Are you in? We are.