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 and Co-Chair with Sir Richard Branson of The B Team.
Nine destinations, our founding members, 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. 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 sustainable development initiatives led by nature-based businesses.
2015 was a pivotal year for The Long Run. Our Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER)® Standard was granted Recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Our vision is that of a world in which ‘Business, Nature and People are harmoniously working together for a sustainable future’.
In order to pursue our vision, we seek to ‘support, connect and inspire nature-based businesses to excel in following the highest standards of sustainability encompassing Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce (4Cs) and collectively influencing others to take up best practices for a sustainable future worldwide’.
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:
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 21 million acres of land.
Touch the lives of over 750,000 people.
Celebrate 120 cultures.
Invest over $12 million in Conservation, Community & Culture.
The Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) is recognised by the Global Sustainability. Tourism Council (GSTC) and is a lead sustainability standard premised on the outstanding work of the GER® and their contribution to sustainability. It is considered to be ‘one of the world’s best standard for privately protected areas’ (Dr. Jeff A. Langholz). The GER® standard is unparalleled by any other standard in that:
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.
Long Run partners are media, travel businesses and non-profit organisations that actively promote and align themselves with The Long Run’s mission. While the three separate partner groups have different commercial aims, each partner can demonstrate absolute commitment to the 4Cs — Conservation, Culture, Community and Commerce.
Cottars joined The Long Run because it was an organisation focused on securing land for the conservation of natural biodiversity. However, it has also allowed Cottars to distinguish itself from its competitors and to be a first choice for environmentally aware travel agents and clients.
The organisation is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by Jochen Zeitz, The Long Run founder. The Board is currently composed of 5 elected GER® Members, one Fellow member and one individual member, Andy Parker, who represents the Parker-Fray family.
Members eligible to steer the organisation are primarily made up of the GER®, ensuring that The Long Run integrity and rigorous processes are maintained. However, slots are reserved for representatives of other membership categories (Fellow and Affiliate Members) and 3 more slots exist on the board for individuals such as Andy who are passionate, committed and able to support The Long Run financially.
The Chief Executive Director supports the Board. Together with a small group of professionals, they make up the management team of what is a nimble, efficient, globally distributed and digitally connected 21st century organisation.
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.