>Corporate Commitment to Wilderness: Memorandum of Understanding to Protect Wilderness

>Memorandum of Understanding between the WILD Foundation and Members of the Corporate Commitment to Wilderness At WILD9, the 9th World Wilderness Congress

See WILD9 link for PDF

November 2009

This MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (Memorandum), dated November 9, 2009, records the basis upon which the Parties to this Memorandum have agreed to collaborate..

The Parties to this Memorandum are:

The WILD Foundation (WILD) located at 717 Poplar Avenue, Boulder, Colorado USA 80304
The Corporate Members (Members) (See Below)

1. Background – Wilderness as a foundation for sustainability
In 1924, the U.S. Forest Service administratively protected the first wilderness in the United States by setting aside 574,000 acres of the Gila National Forest located in the State of New Mexico as the first designated wilderness in the United States. Forty years later, this idea became institutionalized as a form of land conservation with the passage of the U.S. Wilderness Act of 1964. Since that time other nations – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Sri Lanka, the former Soviet Union, and South Africa – have passed wilderness legislation.

What constitutes wilderness has been the crucial question affecting all wilderness designation and management decisions. Aldo Leopold (1921) envisioned wilderness as “a continuous stretch of country preserved in its natural state, open to lawful hunting and fishing, devoid of roads, artificial trails, cottages, or other works of man”. Although wilderness means something different to everyone, four central themes have consistently emerged; experiential, the direct value of the wilderness experience; the value of wilderness as a scientific resource and environmental baseline; the symbolic and spiritual values of wilderness to nations and the world; and the value of wilderness as a commodity or place that generates direct and indirect benefits.
Now we recognize that the climate will change, posing new challenges to many ecosystems. Our need to devote more of the Earth’s land surface to conserving biodiversity and open spaces will play a key role in our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We can do this through ensuring that protected areas continue to be established and well-managed.

We have evolved to a world where half of the global population lives in cities. This presents a tremendous need and opportunity to reunite fragmented rural landscapes, that were impacted by unsustainable land use practices, and begin the process of restoring and re-wilding them. The ecological services that healthy ecosystems provide worldwide are the foundation to a sustainable future, a healthy human society, and successful business on our planet.

2. Purpose Of Working Together:
There is a clear and well-documented business case for sustainable development in industry. Experts confirm that economies will fail to grow and prosper in the absence of fertile soil, freshwater, clean air, and a stable, predictable climate.
To pursue the imperative for sustainability, the private sector can consolidate capacities and take decisive, united actions that assure continued functioning of the critical ecosystem services and biodiversity required for sustainable life and economy on this planet. Furthermore, it is important that environmental organizations encourage and acknowledge the positive contributions of the private sector to conservation and the protection of wild nature and vital ecosystem services such as climate regulation (temperature moderation, carbon sequestration, etc), freshwater, clean air, fertile soil and others. The “Center for Corporate Commitment to Wilderness” is a direct response to both these needs, and participation in it offers corporations a unique opportunity to demonstrate and showcase their leadership in and commitment to land stewardship and the efficient use of natural resources.

3. Principles:
This Memorandum is not a contract and creates no binding obligations between the Parties. It rather documents the intentions of the Parties to collaborate on a sustainable and evolving program of activities for the protection of wilderness and biodiversity. As such, this Memorandum is only intended for use in recording mutual intent to draft agreements and to guide the programs and activities upon which the Parties wish to collaborate.. Such agreements will give members of this new private sector coalition the opportunity to participate in the “Center for Corporate Commitment to Wilderness”, a program of The WILD Foundation.

4. Goals and Objectives:
The Parties to this Commitment intend to develop long-term goals and objectives that would unite the Parties in the protection of wild nature and biodiversity, for generations to come. Some of the areas of common interest for developing such goals and objectives are as follows:

A. Protecting wilderness land and/or seas for the long-term.
B. Restoring wilderness conditions and wildlife to degraded areas.
C. Promoting the importance of wilderness values.
D. Advocating for wilderness recognition and legislation.
E. Providing outreach and education on the role of wilderness for ecosystem services.
F. Increasing awareness of the direct link between wilderness, biodiversity and a stable climate.
G. Facilitating science-based management practices for wilderness.
H. Training and developing leadership capabilities for young wilderness professionals.
I. Transferring wilderness protection and sustainability models globally.
J. Promoting public-private sector partnerships for wilderness.
K. Identifying economic opportunities for local people in or near wilderness areas.

5. Organization:
The Parties agree that the “Center for Corporate Commitment to Wilderness” will be a part of The WILD Foundation, and will be administered in accordance with the By Laws of the WILD Foundation and the 501 (c)(3) Internal Revenue Code of the US Government.

6. Phased Approach:
The Parties recognize that the goals and objectives contained within this Memorandum cannot all be accomplished quickly, or at once. They must rather be pursued in a step-by-step approach as the Parties consolidate capacity, confidence, mutual trust, and positive results.

7. Resourcing Structure:
The Parties recognize that participation in the wilderness goals and objectives identified in this Memorandum requires resources at varying levels and type. It is the intent of this Memorandum to develop a Member Resource Commitment Structure with different levels of involvement, to address individual Members ability and desire to participate the “Center for Corporate Commitment to Wilderness”.

8. Term:
The term of the Memorandum shall be in force for one (1) year, unless mutually agreed to by the Parties otherwise. The Term has been set to allow sufficient time for the Parties to draft and enter into a final long-term agreement regarding joint programs and activities for the Members of the “Center for Corporate Commitment to Wilderness”.

The WILD Foundation
Johnson Controls – LTH


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