Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Making offices green in more ways than one

16 September, 2016 - 14:43 -- World Land Trust
Enterprise Plants
Chris Jenkin and John Burton

World Land Trust (WLT) celebrates an almost 25 year relationship with its longest standing corporate supporter, Enterprise Plants, the week that Managing Director and Co-Founder Chris Jenkin moves to the role of Chairman.

Enterprise Plants began supporting WLT in February 1992, with their first donation going to WLT’s inaugural project in Belize. Since then they have become great friends of the Trust, donating more than £80,000 to protect rainforest and other threatened habitats across the globe.

In addition to their support of Buy an Acre, Enterprise Plants donate to Plant a Tree projects every Christmas and have sponsored competitions through the years. Enterprise Plants also sponsor WLT News, the triannual printed newsletter.

Chris Jenkin co-founded Enterprise Plants 32 years ago, a company which supplies and maintains interior plant displays such as green walls, orchids and Christmas trees and provides all forms of grounds maintenance services. Chris and his business partner approached WLT with ideas to help offices become green in more ways than one.

On a recent visit to the WLT office Chris Jenkin spoke about the relationship Enterprise Plants has had with WLT and why they have supported WLT projects for so long.

What brought you to World Land Trust?

Well, we started getting involved with WLT not long after it began with Programme for Belize.

We were looking for a green, environmental charity to work with and initially we were looking for a project which preserved rainforest. My partner at the time was quite far-sighted and had the idea of linking our product with a scheme to buy an acre of rainforest which would contribute to reducing our customers’ carbon footprint.

We started off by supporting the Programme for Belize, I think we sponsored the first poster that WLT produced, and then we carried on from there.

“Something I personally really like about the projects that WLT gets involved in is that the land purchased becomes locally owned. By working with local partners, the land does not become centrally owned by some kind of corporate but by the local community.”
Chris Jenkin

What’s kept Enterprise Plants working with WLT for so long?

We found it was really easy to work with WLT. We also liked the flexibility of the projects, we could choose the project areas we wanted to support, so we originally put money into Belize, then Costa Rica, the Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Orang-utan habitat in Malaysian Borneo.

One of the other things we like is that it’s not top-heavy. There isn’t much overhead, so you know exactly where your money goes. You don’t just put funds into a random pot where 40 per cent goes into marketing and mail packets with ‘free’ pens, bookmarks and general rubbish (a pet hate of mine as my mother, who gives to certain charities, is constantly bombarded with them). 

Have you visited any of WLT’s project areas?

Yes, I visited Belize, quite a long time ago. I’ve also been to REGUA in Brazil and Misiones in Argentina, and then to Zambia when WLT was looking at a project there. The REGUA project particularly impressed me; they do a lot of different projects and they’ve got a nice birding lodge where people can stay which provides a large portion of their income now. I think it’s very important that an NGO helps a programme to become ultimately self-sustaining, and eco-tourism is really good for doing that with conservation projects. If they are able to sustain themselves you know they’ll be able to survive in the long-term.

Is there anything you think WLT does particularly well?

Something I personally really like about the projects that WLT gets involved in is that the land purchased becomes locally owned. By working with local partners, the land does not become centrally owned by some kind of corporate but by the local community. The people on the ground recognise the issues, they know that you can’t just chuck indigenous people out of an area and put a big fence around it, you have to work with local people and then you have to provide them with something if you’re taking something away. If hunting isn’t available anymore you have to provide something else. And then there’s also the opportunity to fund a ranger, who is employed from the local community as well.

Enterprise Plants logo

WLT thanks Enterprise Plants for their ongoing support of important conservation projects and looks forward to working with their new Managing Director Matthew Monckton.

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