A new collaboration between Rewilding Europe and for-purpose venture Earth Today means anyone can now sponsor the rewilding of land in the Greater Côa Valley. The overall aim of the venture is to ramp up the conservation and restoration of wild nature across the world.
Ever dreamed of supporting your own patch of European nature? The launch of groundbreaking for-purpose venture EarthToday means this dream is finally within reach, with visitors to the site now able to sponsor a piece of land in the Greater Côa Valley rewilding area.
With Rewilding Europe acting as a founding partner, Amsterdam-based EarthToday aims to accelerate funding for global nature protection through an innovative, multi-faceted engagement programme.
Through the programme, which was co-designed with Rewilding Europe and is currently in its pilot phase, anyone can sponsor square metres (m2) of land managed by organisations involved in nature conservation and recovery (sponsorship costs €1.20 per m2). On a rolling basis, sponsorship money is then reinvested by those organisations in the protection and restoration of more land and the wild nature it supports.
Businesses can also sponsor square meters and use them as a purpose-driven reward by gifting them to their customers, rather than rewarding them with discounts or bonus points. The aim of this B2B offering is to really drive the scaling up of nature protection and restoration.
While EarthToday will expand its collaboration with carefully selected nature organisations going forwards, Rewilding Europe is currently its exclusive partner. This means that all sponsorships made through the platform are, for the time being, located in the Greater Côa Valley rewilding area. Other rewilding areas will be integrated into the programme in the near future.
During the EarthToday pilot phase, people and businesses are able to sponsor 100 hectares of land in Vale Carapito, which forms part of the 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor currently under development by Rewilding Portugal and partners in the Greater Côa Valley. A total of 1000 hectares of land in the corridor will eventually be sponsorable as rewilding efforts continue and more land is purchased by rewilding partners in the corridor.
“We are thrilled at this new and innovative association with EarthToday,” says Rewilding Portugal team leader Pedro Prata. “It has the potential to really drive rewilding forwards over the long term in the Greater Côa Valley, as well as raising the profile of the area and our ongoing rewilding efforts.”
A unique operating model
The EarthToday venture comprises three interrelated yet independent initiatives, each with its own objectives, financing and governance. Focusing on two of these, the EarthToday platform enables sponsorship of land and also offers community-driven content focused on social and environmental issues. The EarthFlag will be used as a symbol to promote the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and sustainability leaders.
“Those sponsoring land directly or redeeming claim codes don’t actually own the land, but enable its protection by entrusting it to the nature organisation in question,” explains Tali Bielski, EarthToday’s Director of Partnerships. “They are given a certificate naming them as protector, along with a unique geocode, and inspirational content about the nature organisation managing the land. They will then be able to follow the evolution of the square metres they have sponsored through the content platform.
“In light of the current climate and biodiversity emergencies, we believe this proposition is increasingly attractive to the growing number of consumers looking to make a contribution to nature protection and recovery.”
By connecting companies, charities and consumers with nature through daily routines, the overall aim of EarthToday is to significantly ramp up nature protection and restoration across the world.
“The Greater Côa Valley is just the start,” says Kees Zegers, one of the founders of EarthToday. “We are offering consumers and brands an opportunity to power nature protection and recovery at global scale. Only 10% of the Earth’s surface is currently protected. To prevent mass extinction, we are aiming to push that figure closer to 50%, in line with the ‘theory of Half Earth‘.
“The launch of EarthToday is particularly timely as the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted funding streams for many nature organisations across the world,” he continues. “We are offering a potentially valuable new revenue stream.”
EarthToday will only work with nature organisations that have a proven track record and scaling capabilities, and which are fully transparent and communicative about their work. Such organisations can operate different long-term land management models, including leases and concessions.
“We select nature organisations and their projects according to their contribution to biodiversity and local communities, as well as their track record and reputation,” explains Tali Bielski. “All partners have to fulfil our strict selection criteria.”
“One of the reasons we chose to partner with Earth Today was its huge scaling-up potential,” adds Timon Rutten, Rewilding Europe’s Head of Enterprise. “All the entrepreneurs involved, who each have a track record of commercial success, are focused on making this work. This venture could have a transformative impact on global nature protection and recovery.”