Edmonton businesses help protect Alberta's natural landscapes

By Renato Pagnani August 6, 2019

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Canada’s leading national land conservation organization, has been working since 1962 to protect the natural areas that sustain plants and wildlife in our nation. 

Together with the help of individuals, corporations, and governments, NCC secures properties and manages them for the long term — in tangible terms, over 2.8 million acres of ecologically significant land from coast to coast is actively being conserved by the non-profit organization.

Over the last few years, the Alberta chapter of NCC has received so many requests from local businesses to partner with them in some way, they’ve created a whole new program, ECo. Partners, for such partnerships. The program provides a platform for companies to engage in cause-marketing partnerships with NCC and help raise awareness and financial support for NCC.

As part of ECo. Partners, businesses decide which of the numerous NCC Alberta managed projects will receive their money. Currently, there’s a project just outside of Edmonton called Beaver Hills Conservation Campaign. It covers several areas, including Elk Island National Park and was recognized by UNESCO as a "bisophere" (one of only four such areas in Canada), which provides global recognition of the community’s commitment to conservation and sustainable development.

The Beaver Hills conservation campaign aims to protect an important area for resident and migratory waterfowl. -- (NCC - Brent Calver)

“We heard over and over that companies were looking for authentic partnerships that went beyond just a donation and that they wanted to have their support create local impact,” says Andi Romito, Senior Development Officer for NCC’s Alberta branch, of the impetus behind ECo. Partners. “With Alberta being such an entrepreneurial province, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with companies of all kinds. ECo. Partners was developed as a way for NCC to better partner with companies and create a platform for engagement that allows companies to connect their customers with their interest in conservation.”

“As the program continues to grow our plan is to find creative ways for our partners to start connecting with one another so we can elevate our network of ECo. Partners even further,” she continues. “As our network starts to collaborate on supporting conservation, we think we will hit an exciting new chapter where more and more Albertans are choosing to support local businesses who are also creating a local conservation legacy that we can all be proud of.”

The exact form takes a different shape for each partnership. Wildcraft Garden Soap Company, (founder of which, Jaimee Dupont Morozoff, works at the NCC for her day job) was founded to create beautiful soap and bath products without excessive plastic packaging.

In August, one per cent of each Poppy Barley sale will go to NCC.

Customers are looking for businesses to step up and be forces for good, and not just profit

Justine Barber, co-founder of Poppy Barley

And then there’s Poppy Barley, the latest company to partner with NCC, who decided to donate one per cent of sales from June 18 to August 31, up to $30,000, as well as running a social media campaign with proceeds towards the Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor, a wildlife corridor in the Crowsnest Pass.

According to co-founder Justine Barber, working with NCC was a natural fit for Poppy Barley.

“One of our values at Poppy Barley is 'business for good,' and we donate one per cent of sales to not-for-profits that we believe in,” she explains. “This time we we're looking for an environmental partnership, recognizing that as a product-based company, our impact comes in the form of tanning the leather, manufacturing the product, and shipping it to our customers.”

Wildcraft Garden Soap Company eliminates plastic waste.

The fact that NCC has real roots in Alberta that could allow them to support a project close to home also appealed to Poppy Barley. 

“We’re proud Albertans and proud Canadians,” Barber says. “When we found out about the Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor Legacy Project, it seemed like a great initiative that would contribute significantly to the preservation of this beautiful part of our nation.”

On July 5, Poppy Barley also donated one dollar to NCC each time its NCC campaign photo was shared on Instagram using the #TheFootprintFund hashtag. 

“Consumers care more and more about where products come from,” says Barber of the decision to partner with an organization like NCC. “They want to know about the origins of the things they buy. I think customers are looking for businesses to step up and be forces for good, and not just profit. With this partnership, we hope we can do a little good.”

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