The Long Run Initiative, the Zeitz Foundation’s flagship programme, has been abuzz with activity recently, with five new Long Run Alliance Members and six new Long Run Supporters being welcomed into the initiative, and three of the existing Long Run Destinations completing the rigorous GER® certification process to become fully fledged Long Run Destinations - Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) certified. Those Long Run Destinations which have been newly certified include Caiman Ecological Reserve in Brazil, Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa Rica and Wolwedans in Namibia. GER® certification is setting a new standard in sustainability and is a driving force in promoting and developing sustainable thinking around the globe. It ensures that best practices are adhered to and innovative approaches experimented with and researched to develop sustainable solutions at LRDs.
"It is more than just filling out a questionnaire and offering proof”, points out Carlos Rojas, co-founder of Monte Azul, one of the pioneer GER® certified LRDs, but is rather an all embracing process that scrutinises an LRD’s activities across all 4Cs (conservation, community, culture and commerce). Going through the rigors of GER® certification is a true demonstration of the genuine commitment of LRDs to becoming centres of best practice with regards to sustainability. In completing the GER® certification process, these three LRD’s join the ranks of only 3 others around the world - Monte Azul in Costa Rica, Tahi Beach Resort in New Zealand and Chumbe Island Coral Park in Tanzanzia – who have received certification.
In addition to LRDs, the Long Run Initiative also includes Long Run Alliance Members (LRAMs) and Long Run Supporters (LRSs). Five new LRAMs - DumaTau and Mombo Camps in Botswana, Huaorani Ecolodge in Ecuador, Nkwichi Lodge in Mozambique and Toka Leya Camp in Zambia - and six new LRSs - UniquEco, Atopia Research, Green Destinations, Earthmind, WAPONI and SIX SENSES - have recently joined the Initiative. LRAMs are mostly sustainable tourism businesses that directly manage or significantly influence the management of a natural area of conservation value with defined geographical boundaries; whilst LRSs are institutions that share the Zeitz Foundation’s drive to support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects around the world. As part of the Long Run Initiative these new members will not only contribute their expertise and add to the knowledge-base of The Long Run Initiative, but will also tap into unmatched opportunities to pioneer and set new standards in the areas of environmental, community and cultural stewardship. The Long Run Initiative continues to build global synergies creating trustworthy locations around the world that have demonstrated that they are truly committed to sustainability. The coming together of these model organisations under one umbrella serves to pool the positive effects of innovate projects and activities, creating synergies between them and contributing to the collective knowledge base that will lead to sustainable business practises globally.
More about the new LRAMs:
DumaTau Camp is a ten-roomed luxury tented camp located in the private 125 000-hectare Linyanti Wildlife Reserve which borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. It is situated close to the source of the Savute Channel on one of the many lagoons within the Linyanti Swamp system. Wildlife viewing is the primary activity at DumaTau Camp which hosts a plethora of wildlife - particularly in the dry winter months. The Camp pays special attention to the conservation of wildlife on the IUCN Red List in the area, such as the Wild Dog, Lion and Roan antelope.
Huaorani Ecolodge in an eco-lodge situated at the headwaters of the Amazon and run by the Huaorani, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth which first contacted by the outside world only 55 years ago.
Mombo Camp is located in the Mombo Concession on the northern tip of Chief's Island within the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. This area boasts enormous concentrations of plains game and predators - providing arguably the best big game viewing in all of Africa. Mombo Camp is integrally involved in the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project which has contributed to the restoration of healthy populations of the white rhino in the Okavango Delta.
Nkwichi Lodge lies on the Mozambique shoreline at one of the most beautiful points on the lake. It has been carefully designed to provide comfort and privacy for guests. With a maximum of only 14 people staying at Nkwichi, the lodge can offer guests the highest levels of service in a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Through initiatives such as the Manda Wilderness Project, Nkwichi has encouraged and worked with the local communities to set aside some of their land for conservation purposes through the establishment of a wildlife reserve and to use their natural resources in a sustainable manner.
Toka Leya Camp
Overlooking the mighty Zambezi River and some of its islands is Toka Leya Camp, consisting of 12 spacious en-suite safari-style tents. Wooden walkways snake between the units and main area, limiting its footprint on this pristine area. Toka Leya Camp has a number of systems in place that aim to rehabilitate indigenous flora in the area. The systems include a greenhouse and nursery project to grow seedlings, an environmentally friendly waste-water treatment plant, and a worm farm.
More about the new LRSs:
The UniquEco brand emerged in 2005 as Kenyans Julie Church and Tahreni Bwaanali sought to extend the success of a social and environmental initiative known as The FlipFlop Project. UniquEco's mission is, "to work with craftsmen and women from disadvantaged areas to produce and market products made from recycled rubbers, plastics and metals thus improving their well-being, while ensuring that the biological, social and cultural richness of the local people and environment is maintained or bettered”.
Atopia Research is a research and design organization that works globally to bring innovation, strategic thinking and design expertise to bear on some of the most intractable complex environmental and social issues that we encounter today, engaging in humanitarian relief projects and conducting research into the interdependence of informatics, economics and ecology. The organization’s mission is both charitable and educational.
Green Destinations LLC is a Swiss company based in Dubai and Johannesburg and the first green property developer in the Middle East. Green Destinations specialises on planning, designing and developing resource-efficient buildings and property master plans, recognising that today's design limitations in the building and construction sector are set by ecological aspects.
Earthmind is a not-for-profit network of professional associates promoting synergies for sustainability. They work with partners in the private, public and non-profit sectors, particularly on the themes of business and biodiversity, sustainable finance, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity building.
WAPONI is a business incubator aimed at providing small community-based tourism initiatives in Ecuador and Peru with the market access and skills to compete and thrive. These businesses have sustainability at their core, adhere to high standards of environmental and socio-cultural respect, and have tourist and local population involvement/engagement.
SIX SENSES is a resort and spa management and development company, established in 1995, which manages resorts under the brand names Soneva, Six Senses and Evason; plus Six Senses Spas and Six Senses Sanctuary. Six Senses core purpose is ‘To create innovative, enlightening SLOW LIFE’ and its core philosophy is SLOW LIFE – Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences.