Rewilding Europe and Conservation Capital have renewed their partnership for another three years, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding today. Both organisations are continuing their cooperation to show that the return of wild nature and wildlife in Europe provides a huge opportunity for developing nature-based economies.
Following the successful first four years together, Conservation Capital continues as a core partner of Rewilding Europe. As a result of the partnership so far, a lot of progress has been made in pioneering new nature driven economies in rural Europe. In five of the existing rewilding areas, dozens of local entrepreneurs have been identified and supported to develop ‘rewilding enterprises’, either by adding or adjusting to their existing business, or developing new ones. Some 16 enterprises received technical, financial and promotional support from Rewilding Europe’s enterprise team, thereby leveraging real long-term positive social, economic and environmental impacts.
In 2013, Rewilding Europe Capital (REC) was launched, Europe’s first and only pan-European financing facility providing development loans to enterprises that convert opportunities created by rewilding. So far, REC has provided 420,000 Euros of loans to over 16 enterprises ranging from wildlife related tourism and local products to different forms of accommodation, including ‘safari-style’ experiences.
– “The enterprise component is probably the most innovative component in our initiative,” says Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe. ‘’We would like to prove that wild nature can become a competitive form of land-use in the areas in which we work, by creating destinations where people can experience a unique combination of wild nature, wildlife, local culture and gastronomy. We therefore work very actively to ensure economic benefits to local communities’’.
– “In Europe, creating effective and direct links between conservation and business is fairly new compared to other continents such as Africa and North America,” says Neil Birnie, Managing Director of Conservation Capital. “However, Europe has great potential to develop such ‘rewilding enterprises’ and our experiences from across the world will help shape examples that can serve as a reference point.”
Conservation Capital is one of the initiating partners of Rewilding Europe and has been responsible for most of the initiative’s enterprise work from its start in 2010. As a consequence of this MoU, Conservation Capital will continue to join forces with Rewilding Europe to develop the ‘Business case of the Wild’, in support of Rewilding Europe’s overall mission and work.