Businesses Aligning with the Life that Sustains Us

The trend of business owners aligning with social and environmental causes is on the rise. Here at the Xerces Society, we are feeling these benefits—and are very thankful for the support. For us, giving from companies took a big jump in 2013 and has roughly doubled since then, too. We’re lucky enough to have people reach out to us to partner—a unique place to be as a nonprofit. I personally was thrilled to be able to join the team to help with this increasing momentum!

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Due to a Xerces Society petition, the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) became the first bumble bee in the continental United States to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. This effort was supported by Endangered Species Chocolate, who dedicated a chocolate bar to the species and collaborated with us on the film, A Ghost in the Making, to increase the visibility of the plight of this bee. (Photo: Xerces Society / Sarina Jepsen)

Our existing partners represent a variety of businesses with sustainability missions, from artists and start-ups, to multinational corporations. Some partners provide general sponsorship of our work as part of their commitment to sustainability, including Justin’s Nut Butters, Chantecaille, Madhava Natural Sweeteners, and Big Dipper Wax Works. Others like Endangered Species Chocolate, J. Crew, Proud Pour, and Lokai sell specific products and donate a portion of their sales. Additionally, partners like General Mills, Häagen-Dazs, and Danone North America have improved the sustainability of their supply chains by hiring Xerces to plan and create beneficial insect habitat on farms or other facilities. This is on top of other financial support they provide. We’re so proud to work with all of these wonderful partners as they help to make our work possible! Many of these partnerships have additional layers beyond what we can describe here.

General Mills in our largest example of a multifaceted partnership to date. Working with major corporations like this is critical if we want to move forward with landscape-scale conservation. General Mills is setting their sights high, with a 5-year, $2 million commitment to add more than 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat on farmland across the country. This is in addition to new habitat on its own supplier farms and donations through sales of several brands. We’re incredibility grateful for their commitment and Xerces can even be found mentioned on some products. Next time you see a box of Cascadian Farm cereal, check for us on the label!

Pollinator habitat at a Tree Top Grower's orchard

Pollinator habitat planted as part our General Mills partnership at a Tree Top Grower’s orchard in Othello, WA. (Photo: Tree Top Inc.)

In addition to the support mentioned above, business partners help us convey our message of conservation to a broader audience than we can on our own. This impact is difficult to quantify, but is also important to our work, as we are always striving to reach more and more people.

In another effort to expand our reach, we have recently launched a new community engagement initiative to increase our impact in cities and towns. As we seek engaged volunteers to be part of this outreach, we’re also looking for business partners to be “Community Engagement Sponsors.” These sponsors will be directly responsible for increasing our capacity to supply volunteers with educational materials to engage the community—starting in our hometown of Portland, then expanding to a national scale.

Xerces Society community outreach volunteer

A Xerces Society volunteer conducting outreach at the Oregon Zoo—an example of the events our volunteers will be present at as the program grows. (Photo: Xerces Society / Rachel Dunham)

There is so much potential for businesses to be a catalyst for change. Above I mentioned some examples of the nature of our current business partnerships, but we are excited to discuss additional ideas! Please reach out to me, Courtney Blinkhorn, at [email protected] if your business is interested in becoming a Xerces Society partner.

Written by Courtney Blinkhorn, Xerces Society Corporate Giving Associate.

Learn more about business partnerships with the Xerces Society.

Learn more about the Xerces Society’s new volunteer program.

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