The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is proud to share with you their 2020 Integrated Report, which provides an overview of the EWT’s conservation impact throughout the region in the previous financial year.
Here is the intro by EWT CEO Dirk Ackerman:
2020 will go down in the annals of history as the year of the pandemic, as COVID-19 dominated the news agenda. One of the pandemic’s consequences was to force humanity to pause, and in this pause, to reflect on our actions and their consequences.
It is well known that humankind does not tread lightly upon Planet Earth. However, the lockdowns and industry shutdowns gave our planet time to breathe, time to heal, and time to regenerate. An unintended consequence of these lockdowns was to witness the resilience of our planet and of nature. The reduction in pollution in its many forms – noise, air, traffic – led to various ecosystems getting the chance to revitalise, and for the planet to show off its remarkable ability to self-heal.
Collectively, we marvelled at the way nature started to reclaim its territory, with the re-appearance of many species in areas where they had not been seen for years. And an amusing observation was that the lockdown saw people being caged and animals roaming free.
The lockdowns also created the space and time for substantial introspection. As the “new normal” began to evolve, people saw the potential for working remotely (Working from Home) and creating and reaping increased efficiencies, not only in their work but also in terms of commuting, travel, and their overall carbon footprint. The slowdown in the global economy also created time for people to re-evaluate their approach to work, to life, and to the way that they impact our planet.
On my personal meanderings, I saw a poster in an art shop that read, “THERE IS NO PLANET B.” This simple epithet got me thinking about our EWT motto: “Protecting forever, together.”
I know that this is what we at the EWT strive for, but we need people to be constantly mindful of how they will achieve this. People need to take responsibility in every facet of their lives – personal and work. Organisations need to be increasingly conscious of their processes as ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors are becoming increasingly important, non-financial, reporting considerations in the analysis of corporation and corporate investment opportunities.
I am greatly encouraged by how corporations are increasingly placing importance on ESG factors with respect to investment opportunities. Hopefully, this is a sign of the emergence of a more conscious and caring capitalism. At the EWT, we have developed particular skills and competencies in assisting corporations in conducting ESG audits. We are also networked with certain funds that place a substantial emphasis on ESG in evaluating investments, and we are actively seeking to make corporations and citizens aware of the importance of this.
I encourage corporations to work with us at the EWT in the assessment of their ESG activities and see our engagement here as a value-creator for both the EWT and corporations.
One thing that is certain is that humankind is presently on a path of self-destruction. We cannot continue to abuse and disrespect our natural resources in the way we have over the last century, particularly if we hope to leave a legacy for future generations. Our options are either to seek a Planet B or to be more considerate towards Planet Earth.
On a global scale, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook report has indicated some very positive assessments of the future for clean energy. The need to cut emissions has been nixed by naysayers looking at the cost factors of a transition away from carbon-based and fossil fuels. Recent developments in clean, and green, energy have started to change the approach to this as efficiencies
are achieved and broader issues, such as the elimination of greenhouse gases and the reduction in global warming, are added to considerations. I believe that over the next decade we will see substantial development within the energy arena – developments that will impact positively upon the environment too.
We need to re-evaluate our actions in so many facets of our lives, particularly the impact our consumption patterns have on the environment. We need to look to production processes and re-evaluate aspects of energy consumption as well as employment. Keeping production local will assist us in reducing the arbitrage of our currency and make us more resilient to foreign influences.
And whilst we are about this, we can no longer afford to disregard the packaging of goods that we consume. We need to be conscious of the environmental impact of both the manufacture of the packaging and the consequences of its disposal. More manufacturers need to be considerate of the impact their packaging has on the environment. I applaud those companies who are striving to use packaging made from
recycled material, and that can be safely and simply recycled, or destroyed, with minimum impact on our environment.
We also need to look at our food choices with a particular emphasis on its sources – both from an economic and environmental impact. The closer to home we source our foods, the less it impacts on the environment, whilst also providing an economic boost locally.
The economic slowdown due to the pandemic has adversely affected the funding of NGOs, and these organisations also need to look at more effective and efficient operations. There is room for consolidation of various administrative tasks within these NGOs to ensure they use funds more efficiently for achieving their core purpose.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely impacted the EWT, like all other organisations. Our staff’s commitment to “Protecting forever, together,” has been as strong as ever. I am immensely proud of the way that our people have not only risen to, but surmounted, the challenges posed by the lockdowns, as well as the sacrifices that they have made in this challenging time.
I thank the EWT’s trustees, management and staff for their unwavering commitment to conservation and the Trust.
I have always believed that human beings are intrinsically filled with hope. Whilst we face challenging times, as intelligent beings, we need to both live with hope and be realistic in that for which we hope. I remain hopeful that humankind will take a lesson from 2020 and be more gentle in the way we interface with the planet, with the resources within the planet, and ultimately with one another.