Our Roots

Our world faces unprecedented social and environmental challenges. No one actor can address these single-handed. We believe that business, especially tourism, can help reverse these trends.


The Long Run started in 2009 as an initiative of Zeitz Foundation’s international programme. It was launched by Jochen Zeitz, Founder of the ZEITZ foundation, Co-Founder of The B Team and Zeitz MOCAA.


Nine destinations were selected on the basis of their commitment and unique approach to sustainability. Their collaboration provided the basis on which The Long Run developed its approach and strategy — protecting wilderness in perpetuity via the 4Cs, a holistic balance of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Going from strength to strength, the initiative evolved into an independent UK-based non-profit organisation in March 2015, with its own board of directors. It is now a registered charity in the UK. 


The organisation has now grown to become one of the world’s largest nature-based business initiatives with over 60 members worldwide.


Accommodations, lodges, and privately protected areas join The Long Run as Fellow members and work towards the prestigious Global Ecosphere Retreat Standard®. In 2015, the Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER)® Standard was granted recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.  

We believe that we can achieve together for the planet, for people, and for business is much more than what we can do on our own. Collectively we can show the world that business can be a force for good and inspire others to take up best practice to make the world a better place. The members of The Long Run continuously demonstrate that profit can and should go hand in hand with productive ecosystems, and prosperous communities.

Our Work

The members of The Long Run are at the front line of conservation in many remote places around the world. They are pioneers in sustainability, committed to doing things differently by leveraging the power of their business for the health of the planet and the well-being of people.


Through The Long Run they are connected to a global community of exceptional destinations who support and inspire each other to expand their positive impact and to excel in following the highest standards of sustainability encompassing Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce (4Cs).


We achieve this through:

Technical Assistance

  • Providing members with personal and tailored technical support (online and on site) to help continuously improve sustainability performance and address specific challenges;
  • Facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience between members on line (through webinars) and on site through members’ exchange visits;
  • Regular follow up with members in their journey of improvement, using the GER® standard as a benchmark;
  • Facilitation to reflect and strategically plan for improvements at member’s destination.

Membership Services

  • Maintain and implement a rigorous screening process;
  • Access to The Long Run network of members and experts and online tools;
  • Organising annual members’ meeting at member destinations to exchange knowledge and expertise, as well as learn and experience the 4Cs in practice while setting the strategic priorities of the organisation.

Awareness raising and profiling

  • Recognition and profiling on The Long Run website, social media and use of affiliation with The Long Run, its name and logos;
  • Recognition and profiling of outstanding work in global tourism, conservation and sustainability.
The Long Run demonstrates what the private sector can achieve and the positive impact it can have on conservation and communities around the world.

The 4Cs

The 4Cs framework provides a concrete way for businesses to internalise sustainability in their operations and decision-making. It recognises the importance of business viability to secure biodiversity conservation and community well-being in the long term.


Reciprocally, it emphasises the importance of nature and supportive communities in sustaining nature-based businesses. Members are encouraged and supported to continuously expand their positive impacts on the health of the planet and well-being of people.



Biodiversity is life. Conservation is safeguarding this biodiversity and the integrity of the ecosystem services it provides which support global needs. Conservation is a core to all Long Runners. They support the sustainable use of natural resources that safeguards the integrity of the planet in their area. Activities in this dimension address issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as management of energy, water and waste, land planning and carbon impact reduction, among others.


People matter; it is the right of every person to have their basic needs met and enhancing the well-being of communities is a fundamental obligation of all. Long Runners support activities that enhance the well being of communities they belong to or interact with. Activities in this dimension address fair working conditions, community relations, social infrastructure, social accountability, capacity building and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), among others.


Our world is culturally diverse. Celebrating commonality is what nurtures understanding. Respecting difference is crucial to our future. Our ability to innovate and evolve is what makes us uniquely human. Drawing on our uniqueness we enrich each other and contribute to a greater common good. Long Runners strive to strengthen intercultural relationships and understanding, safeguarding cultural heritage while raising awareness of cultural diversity. Activites in this dimension address issues of cultural heritage site protection, cultural heritage promotion and awareness, respect, cultural exchange among others.


Uncontrolled, commerce has had negative impacts. Conducted in a holistic and sustainable way commerce can be a positive contributor for The Long Run. Trading and the accumulation of wealth have been central to the development of civilizations over thousands of years and are likely to remain so. This dimension addresses the sustainability of commercial operations recognising the intricate link between profit, natural and social assets. Viable businesses offer the capacity to provide a source of income for people that depend on it, as well as long term investment back into the initiatives in each of the 4Cs.



Safeguard over 23 million acres of land.


Improve the lives of over 750,000 people.


Celebrate 120 cultures.


Invest over $12 million in Conservation, Community & Culture.


The Long Run’s Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and is a leading sustainability standard. It is considered to be ‘one of the world’s best standards for privately protected areas’ (Dr Jeff A. Langholz). The GER® standard is unparalleled by any other standard in that:




  • It rigorously covers all 4C aspects of sustainability in tourism with equal weight;
  • It is not merely about compliance assessment; it is a vehicle to support nature-based tourism businesses’ in their journey of continuous improvement;
  • Likewise, it is not only about businesses merely mitigating their negative environmental impacts but about positively impacting the well-being of the planet and the people;
  • The GER® recognition is earned rather than granted following a highly rigorous assessment by accomplished experts and professionals;
  • Owning, directly managing or influencing a significant landscape or seascape is an essential criterion that makes GER® exclusive on the one hand and focussed on the planet and people on the other hand;
  • GER® members must be commercially profitable or commit to attaining commercial viability; demonstrating that conserving nature is an economic imperative beyond the ethical arguments of posterity;
  • Therefore, the GER® standard is ultimately for those nature-based tourism businesses that are exceptionally motivated to be a force for the greater good and are, or aspire to be, the best of the best in sustainable tourism.


Once a property achieves GER® status, it is granted for six years with a compulsory mid-term (three year) review to ensure compliance and create a new 4C plan if needed.


Please download the GER® criteria HERE.

The members of The Long Run are at the front line of conservation in many remote places around the world. Each nature-based tourism destination joins as a Fellow Member and commits to The Long Run’s 4Cs framework, aspiring to become ‘Centres Of Excellence’ and achieving Global Ecosphere Retreats® status. Our wide network of Affiliate members lends skills and experience to support this journey.

Global Ecosphere Retreats®

Global Ecosphere Retreats® represent the highest level of membership in The Long Run community. Each nature-based tourism business has met the GER® recognition requirement in all areas of the 4Cs and is a centre of excellence in sustainable business practices.

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Fellow Members

Fellow Members are travel destinations and lodges that own, manage or significantly influence areas of biodiversity. They are committed to a continuous journey of improvement towards excellence in sustainability and the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Each member works towards the prestigious and GSTC-recognised Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER®) standard and becomes a center of excellence.
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Affiliate Members

Affiliates are highly regarded, expert non-profits, academics, institutions and media platforms that align closely with our ethos and help The Long Run to collaborate, inspire and promote its mission. They are ambassadors of The Long Run and the 4Cs approach and provide vital in-kind support to assist our vision and mission.
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Travel Partners are tour operators, agents, travel designers and any business selling travel that actively aligns itself with The Long Run’s community and commitment to the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.

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The programmes and activities of The Long Run are shaped in part by our in-house team. We are a small but passionate team of conservationists, economists, environmentalists, tourism specialists and marketers. Although we each come from different walks of life, we’ve banded together under one unifying principle; We can act today for a better tomorrow.
Executive Director

Dr. Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner

Communications Manager

Holly Tuppen

Membership Coordinator

Joy Mbatau

Regional Manager, Southern Africa

Ruth Crichton

Technical Advisor

Dr. Delphine Malleret-King

Regional Manager, North America

Tim O'Donoghue

Regional Manager, Latin America

Johanna Barba

Regional Hub Manager, Asia

Irene Meca

Technical Assistance Intern

Lynn Mumbi

Our Governance

The Long Run is governed by a board of trustees, which is advised by a Members Advisory Council, composed of GERs® (Centres of Excellence in sustainable tourism and conservation), which steers the organisation on behalf of its members.



Everything we do is guided by the 4 key principles of being fair, honest, positive and creative. These 4 Keys are at the heart of The Long Run’s mission and way of business.

Fair means balanced …

  • listening to all sides
  • resisting the pressures that can push us to extremes
  • listening as much as we talk, and
  • giving back as much as we take

Honest means sincere …

  • never faking it
  • walking the walk as we talk the talk – practicing what we preach
  • putting our money, energy and time where our mouth is
  • admitting our mistakes and owning up to our responsibilities

Positive means constructive …

  • building things and people up, rather than breaking them down
  • working for solutions rather than criticizing or complaining
  • supporting others when they try, encouraging them when they fail, and celebrating with them when they succeed
  • use “We can”, more often than “We can’t”

Creative means innovative …

  • thinking outside the box
  • finding ways around problems
  • not stopping when we encounter obstacles
  • looking at new ways, listening to new ideas and trying new strategies
We carefully listen to our stakeholders, encourage greater communication, collaboration, participation and creative expression, and continuously support protecting the integrity of the ecosystems as well as the well-being of the communities among our members.