A new partnership between Rewilding Europe and German shoemaker Wildling Shoes will see rewilding efforts scaled up in Europe, generating wide-ranging benefits for nature and people. The collaboration will kick off with support for rewilding actions in the Rhodope Mountains rewilding area.
A new partnership between Rewilding Europe and German shoemaker Wildling Shoes is set to enhance rewilding impact in Europe. The partnership will see the German company financially support Rewilding Europe’s rewilding efforts over the next five years. This will be contributed through 1% For the Planet, an international organisation whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes.
“We are delighted with this new collaboration and deeply grateful to Wildling Shoes for their support,” says Rewilding Europe Managing Director Frans Schepers. “This critical new funding demonstrates the business sector’s rapidly growing interest in rewilding.”
Towards a wilder Rhodopes
The new partnership will initially focus on advancing rewilding in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, where Rewilding Europe has been working since 2014. This is one of the most biodiverse areas in Europe, with a huge need and potential for rewilding, as well as a strong cultural identity. Rewilding efforts are currently focused on food chain recovery, the restoration of biodiversity-rich mosaic landscapes through natural grazing, and the development of a local nature-based economy. The well-established Rewilding Rhodopes team has developed a beneficial network of relationships with key stakeholders, including local communities.
Rewilding in the Rhodope Mountains is already creating wilder, healthier, more ecologically functional ecosystems that are better able to adapt to and mitigate climate change. With an effective presence on the ground, the Rewilding Rhodopes team now has an opportunity to consolidate and scale up their work. The new funding from Wildling Shoes will allow them to take this step forward, with nature recovery providing new perspectives for local people and the region.
A perfect fit
Founded in 2015, Wildling Shoes creates, produces and distributes shoes for children and adults – an emphasis on minimalism is designed to help wearers develop healthier, stronger feet.
The company also wants to build a stronger connection between people and nature, with operational values that include the restoration of nature, fair manufacturing, sustainably produced raw materials and climate protection. This correlates strongly with rewilding, which is one of the best ways of addressing our ecological and climate emergencies and delivering a planet that is more liveable for all. This includes exploring new ways for people to earn a fair living from the wild.
“As a company we are firmly committed to giving back to nature and people, which makes this exciting new partnership with Rewilding Europe the perfect fit,” says Anna Yona, founder and managing director of Wildling Shoes. “Through rewilding, we can enhance biodiversity and ecological resilience, create jobs, and look to establish a new source of sustainable raw materials for our products.”
Wildling shoes are made of mostly natural materials. As part of the new collaboration, Rewilding Europe and Wildling Shoes will explore the production of raw materials for the company’s footwear, with a focus on flax, hemp and nettle.