The Long Run Initiative – Acting today for a better tomorrow

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The Long Run Initiative, non-profit organization Zeitz Foundation’s flagship program, is a network of like-minded businesses committed to the highest standards in sustainability. In this feature, Dr. Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner, Long Run Initiative Coordinator, provides insights into the mission of the program, its philosophy and how it is put into practice in different projects around the world for a more sustainable future.

What is the Long Run Initiative and what is its mission?

The Long Run Initiative (LRI) is the Zeitz Foundation’s flagship program launched in 2009 that puts the Long Run Philosophy of action today for a better tomorrow into practice. The Zeitz Foundation, founded in 2008, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain and improve the integrity of ecosystems through effective sustainable management practices. The Foundation supports ecologically and socially responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve long-lasting impact and sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4Cs).

The Long Run Initiative is a network of like-minded businesses committed to the highest standards in sustainability, and is built around:

  • Long Run Supporters: organisations that share the drive to support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects around the world and have demonstrated their commitment by signing the Long Run Charter, a declaration of intent and commitment to promote more sustainable lifestyle choices.
  • Long Run Alliance Members: institutions that directly manage or influence the management of a natural area of conservation value.
  • Long Run Destinations: tourism-focused enterprises that engage in fostering community development, cultural stewardship, environmental education and biodiversity conservation. They have undergone all the steps of the rigorous Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) certification process that confirms actions and results within the 4Cs.
ZF_LogoThe full name of the Foundation is the Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety. Ecosphere refers to the planet and all its life-sustaining properties. Ecosphere Safety relates to the maintenance of the ecosphere in the interest of all future generations.

The Long Run Charter is the common thread running throughout the LRI. What is the Charter and what does it entail?

“To compile the E4C Plan made us go back ten years and realize that we were actually on the right track all the time, but lacked a proper action plan and a means of ensuring that the message gets across to all team members in a well packaged and simple way. In this regard, drafting the E4C Plan was a very rewarding exercise.” (Wolwedans, Namibia)

All LRI members are required to commit to the 4Cs approach to sustainability, although the level of this commitment differs according to the different categories of membership. The Charter is a declaration of intent and commitment to promoting more sustainable lifestyle choices and is about building a sustainable future. It advocates actions in the areas of the 4Cs, and supports the shared ethical foundation of being Fair, Honest, Positive and Creative.

It is based on the recognition that our world is a complex and dynamic system of interdependencies, requiring a constant rebalancing of what the Zeitz Foundation calls the 4Cs:

  • Conservation;
  • Community;
  • Culture; and
  • Commerce