This month, we are very pleased to share with you a guest blog from Catherine Savidge, General Manager of The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), one of our longstanding environmental partners. Nikwax has worked closely with this globally respected charitable organisation since it’s foundation in 2006, helping to provide funding for grassroots conservation, protection, and regeneration projects around the world.
Please read on to discover more about the organisation and our partnership…
EOCA is a conservation charity based in the European outdoor industry. It currently has nearly 160 member companies and Nikwax was one of the first forward-thinking companies to sign up when the association was founded back in 2006. Members provide funds to the association through membership fees and fundraising activities, which EOCA then directs to hands-on conservation projects around the world. EOCA is unique in working with an entire industry to give back to nature.
By working together, EOCA and its members have funded over €5 million of conservation work around the world, supporting 184 projects in 65 countries. Projects mitigate against climate change and tackle the loss of biodiversity, have a link to the outdoor enthusiast, leave a positive legacy, and are beneficial to local communities. In the last two and a half years alone, EOCA’s funded projects have contributed to conservation in over 750,000ha of landscape.
The projects EOCA has funded are varied in location and conservation focus. They have included establishing biking routes to enhance protection of landscapes through ecotourism in Romania and South Africa; cleaning plastic pollution from environments with paddle boarders, hikers, surfers and skiers; restoring, replanting and protecting forests in Scotland, Sweden, France, Indonesia and Spain; and conserving the habitats of bears in Italy and Spain, red squirrels in the UK, orangutans in Borneo and elephants in Thailand.
In addition to being an active and valued member, Nikwax has played further critical roles for EOCA. Nick Brown, founder of Nikwax was on the board of EOCA for many years, contributing to the strategic development of the association.
In 2015, Nikwax stepped up again and became a Sustaining Member of EOCA. Sustaining Members recognise the importance of healthy environments, recognise that the outdoor industry can make a major contribution to promoting and caring for wild spaces and their fauna and flora, recognise that EOCA provides a mechanism to enable the industry to collectively do this, and recognise that this requires resources. Every year since 2015 therefore, Nikwax and EOCA’s other Sustaining Members have each contributed a further €10,000 annually to help finance the running and growth of EOCA. This has enabled EOCA to move from one to two funding rounds each year, to grow membership by 22% and the amount given to projects each year by 78% between 2015 and 2019, and to continue to make a significant impact to fragile habitats each year.
“We are hugely thankful to Nikwax for their long-term partnership and support. Their engagement, from raising awareness of EOCA and conservation issues at tradeshows, and taking part in project selection processes, to strategic support on the board and their financial support as a Sustaining Member, all help the association to maximise its impact around the world.” Catherine Savidge, EOCA General Manager
Each year, not-for-profits apply to EOCA for funding. These applications go through a rigorous assessment and shortlisting process and are reviewed by a panel of scientific advisers. The projects to receive funding from EOCA are then selected from this shortlist through a vote for members and through a vote which members of the public are invited to take part in. If you are interested to learn more about EOCA and its work, and also to take part in the votes held in autumn and spring each year to help select which projects receive funding, please sign up to the EOCA newsletter here.