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Top Five Environment Investments in 2011

Conservation International: $16,208,278

The Walton Family Foundation understands that a strong environment and thriving human communities are closely linked. A healthy environment depends on its human inhabitants to protect it, and in turn, we depend on a healthy environment to provide the elements we need to survive.

A key partner in the foundation’s environment initiatives, Conservation International seeks to ensure that local communities serve as effective stewards of the ecosystems they depend on for their own health and economic well being.

Through the foundation’s support, Conservation International works with more than 80 partners to implement a long-term, large-scale program along the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.

The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape initiative has helped to create over 2.5 million hectares of new protected areas that preserve marine life while taking into account the needs of local communities. Conservation International also engages with and builds support from local stakeholders to ensure that local fishing and tourism industries will continue to benefit from healthy marine resources for years to come.

In Indonesia, Conservation International is empowering villagers in West Papua to establish and effectively manage protected areas on coral reefs in the Bird’s Head Seascape – the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world – that safeguard a future for both local communities and endangered marine species.

Environmental Defense Fund: $13,683,709

The Walton Family Foundation supports the innovative work of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to harness science and market incentives to drive lasting solutions to our most pressing environmental crises.

EDF’s foundation-supported projects exemplify a shared commitment to economically-beneficial approaches to conservation.  For example:

  • In the Gulf of Mexico, EDF works with seafood retailers to create a market for sustainably-caught red snapper from the Gulf, boosting profits for local fishermen and giving businesses an economic stake in the health of the Gulf ecosystem.
  • In the Mississippi River Delta, EDF advocates for and helps implement large-scale restoration projects. These efforts serve to restore and revitalize the region by creating jobs and maintaining the energy infrastructure that depends on a healthy delta.
  • As part of a coalition convened by the Walton Family Foundation, EDF has worked to ensure that fines related to the Gulf oil spill of 2010 are directed toward restoration projects along the Gulf Coast that will provide jobs, boost tourism and strengthen local economies.

Marine Stewardship Council: $3,122,500

While it is critical to protect and restore fish populations around the world, the Walton Family Foundation believes it is equally important to ensure that the fishermen and people working throughout the seafood supply chain who depend on those fish can continue to thrive.

Support from the foundation has been instrumental in building the Marine Stewardship Council(MSC) into a global program with a significant impact on the world’s oceans by sustaining the Council’s pioneering work to create consensus on a global fishery sustainability standard and a worldwide market for sustainable seafood.

MSC has developed a rigorous, science-based and transparent certification program for sustainable fishing as well as a seafood traceability program that allows seafood buyers to know at a glance that their fish was caught by a certified sustainable fishery. By empowering retail, food service and other partners and their customers with this information, MSC is helping to transform the world’s fisheries and seafood markets.

MSC has partnered with the seafood industry, scientists and others to help increase the amount of sustainably-caught fish in the market. MSC also works to educate consumers about the benefits of buying sustainable seafood in order to create a market environment where fishermen who fish responsibly will prosper.

Nature Conservancy: $3,024,539

The Walton Family Foundation believes that generating buy-in from local stakeholders is essential to achieving lasting change for the environment. Enduring conservation solutions depend on forging lasting partnerships with local communities, government agencies, nearby businesses and other constituencies.

The Nature Conservancy’s focus on building partnerships makes the Conservancy an important part of the foundation’s environment portfolio. Around the world, the foundation and the Conservancy are working together to bring conservation, business and community interests together to find lasting solutions to big challenges.

Through the foundation’s support, the Conservancy has worked closely with the Costa Rican government in its efforts to become the first developing country in the world to fulfill its promise to protect regional biodiversity.

In the U.S., the Conservancy has worked with other foundation grantees like the Tamarisk Coalition to establish local ownership of efforts to repair damaged habitats along the Colorado River. The Conservancy is also working with the fishing industry in Cape Cod, MA, to build a blueprint for implementing sustainable fishing practices that will protect dwindling fish populations while preserving local fishermen’s livelihoods.

National Audubon Society: $2,739,859

The Walton Family Foundation is committed to promoting conservation approaches that protect critical ecosystems and endangered wildlife by engaging local communities and businesses to achieve lasting results.

The foundation supports the work of the National Audubon Society to protect and restore ecosystems around the country for the benefit of both the wildlife and the people who rely on them.

With support from the foundation, Audubon has been a leader in the foundation-supported coalition that has sought to launch crucial restoration projects along the Gulf Coast with Clean Water Act fines paid for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. These projects will protect and restore areas along the coast where wildlife can thrive. They will also bring needed jobs and increased tourism to the recovering Gulf region.

In 2011, Audubon and the foundation also worked together to develop science-based approaches to help landowners manage their forests in an environmentally-friendly and financially-beneficial way in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Audubon also undertook a foundation-funded project to preserve the natural beauty along the riverbanks of eastern Arkansas and connect the community to these spaces through nature tourism.