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Why we need to keep global temperature increases within 1.5°C.

In last month’s blog we covered some of the basic principles around climate change and what causes global warming. Today, we hear a lot about keeping global temperature increases within 1.5°C, and
so, in this blog we are looking at the significance of 1.5°C, why we started talking about it, and why it’s so important.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed at COP21, a global UN climate conference that is held every 2 years. The agreement is a legally binding treaty that aims ‘to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels’. However, because of findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there has been a greater emphasis on keeping temperatures at or below 1.5°C of warming.

The IPCC is composed of global climate experts and scientists who deliver reports to the UN on climate change; they are charged with looking at the causes and effects of climate change, as well as the reduction solutions that will have the greatest impact. A lot of our current understanding of climate change comes from the IPCC’s reports.

Why the emphasis on pre-industrial levels?
Before the industrial revolution, though greenhouse gases (GHGs) were present in the atmosphere, they remained relatively low, due to Earth’s biocapacity (our planet’s ability to absorb and generate ecological resources). It was during the industrial boom (1850-1900) that GHG emissions began to steadily rise and, as industry increased, so did GHGs.  Once these levels became too high, they remained in our atmosphere because this exceeded the Earth’s ability to reabsorb and recapture the emissions. Global temperature rises are therefore measured against this pre-industrial period, as a gauge of how much the Earth is warming and exceeding its biocapacity, because of human activity.

© Michal Pech, Unsplash

It’s helpful to think of it like a budget; every year the Earth has a ‘budget’ in which the carbon and GHGs we emit can be regulated and removed from the atmosphere by natural resources, such as rainforests and the oceans. Once we’ve used up our budget, these GHGs remain in our atmosphere, warming the planet. It’s at this point that our ecological footprint exceeds the planet’s biocapacity and is often referred to as ‘Earth Overshoot Day’. In the early 1970s, this fell towards the end of the year, in late December. This year ‘Overshoot Day’ will fall on the 2nd August, meaning we are using the natural resources equivalent to 1.75 Earths.

Why 1.5°C?
To avoid climate disaster, the IPCC recommends limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 1.5°C doesn’t seem like a big increase, especially as we see fluctuations in local temperatures much higher than this day-to-day. However, as the overall temperature of our planet shifts, we can quite quickly see some changes that vary significantly for different regions and communities. For example, a 1.5°C increase globally might mean more extreme monsoon seasons in one region and extreme drought in another. Currently, we are at 1.1°C of warming against pre-industrial levels and we are already seeing the effects of this via hotter days, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and warmer and more acidic oceans.

© Matt Palmer, Unsplash

As it currently stands, if we were to take an optimistic approach and assume that those who have set Net Zero targets meet them, we would hit 1.8°C of warming.  

So, it’s clear that that we have a lot of work to do, and both governments and organisations alike are setting ambitious targets.

What is Nikwax doing to help?
At Nikwax, we have pledged to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2025. We have submitted our reduction targets to the Science Based Targets Initiative for validation, to ensure that we reducing our impact in line with the 1.5°C pathway.

To help promote the Earth’s natural resources and increase its biocapacity, we have worked with the World Land Trust since 2007 through its Carbon Balanced programme and Action Fund. We have helped to fund projects that protect and expand essential carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots in both South America and Southeast Asia.


© World Land Trust

© Header Image: Javier Miranda, Unsplash
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Interview: we talk environment, sustainability and lockdown, with Nikwax’s Sustainability Director

Here at Nikwax, our passion for the great outdoors and protection of the environment is at the heart of what we do. We constantly strive to improve our sustainability and environmental credentials throughout the business, and with that focus, we employed our own Director of Sustainability.

We speak to Maïté Angleys about Nikwax, the outdoor industry, and the impact of lockdown.

So then Maïté, how did you become Director of Sustainability?
I undertook a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Business Studies and during this course, I started to ask questions about business ethics. Much of what we were taught included telling us ‘this is how businesses should run’ … I began to question that information, or simply did not agree with what I was being told. When the questions became more pressing from me, it led to me moving on to do a Masters in Sustainability Management. I wanted to learn how you lead a business in a sustainable way.  

As part of my Masters, I ended up doing an internship with Páramo – this went really well and I actually went on to do my thesis with Páramo. I analysed sustainability management tools and held a meeting, which Nick Brown (CEO) sat in on. He seemed impressed and went on to ask if I would like to start in a role as Director of Sustainability at Nikwax!

Nikwax has achieved a vast amount over the last 44 years and continues to do so. Since joining the company, what has been a key moment for you within your role as Sustainability Director?
Firstly, it is the creation of the role of Sustainability Director, not because of me having this role! The fact that Nikwax chose to have this role embedded high within the company structure, solely dedicated to this topic, is key. To me, it says a lot about how Nikwax takes this issue seriously – many other companies do not have such a role in their organisation.

We have also just completed the development of our sustainability strategy for 2025. We have seen that across the entire company people have put in extra hours, interest and creativity to the development of this strategy. This is remarkable and cannot be taken for granted. 

What are the current key focuses for Nikwax, in terms of sustainability and the environment?
The most pressing issue is the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity, so we are focusing on our climate action programme, where we work towards energy reduction and reduction of GHG emissions.

With biodiversity loss, we have been re-naturalising the farmland behind one of our business locations in rural Sussex. We are trying to heighten biodiversity right on our doorstep and want to ensure the beautiful landscape continues to exist.

Lastly, our chemical management system, where we are developing a comprehensive and holistic system to ensure nothing hazardous comes in or leaves our production. The chemical management system helps us to constantly develop further and lessen the environmental impact of our products and our production.

Nikwax has forged relationships with a number of environmental organisations, can you tell us a little about these?
Since 2007, we have had a key relationship with the World Land Trust (WLT) through Carbon Balancing. We compensate our operative emissions and our contribution helps to protect and regenerate vital ecosystems. WLT focus on using donations to purchase land in order to conserve fragile habitats, rather than, for example, undertaking reforestation to compensate for C02 emissions. After all, you cannot simply replace one ecosystem with another!

We have worked with the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) since its foundation in 2006. The great thing with EOCA is that they raise funds from members of the outdoor industry and they have supported some vast conservation projects, which get voted for by members and the public. Our CEO, Nick, was actually the Vice-President for some time on the board of EOCA.

One of their recent campaigns was to plant 2 million trees – which is a lot! – a target they achieved in two years. The Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea project followed, focusing on plastic removal from the environment (rivers, forests and mountains). They smashed their 2-year target of clearing 3,000km of waste, instead clearing a total of 4,183km of plastic pollution! Bringing outdoor members together, they maximise the impact they would have, compared to if each organisation just campaigned by themselves.

Lastly is the Green Commerce and Chemistry Council (GC3). They are US-focused and hold an annual roundtable for green chemistry, which again involves some big industry players. They are dedicated towards developing sustainable chemistry and chemical solutions. There are companies involved such as DuPont and Dow, large-scale companies that may not focus so much on sustainability compared to others. However, in order to evoke change, these are the people to speak to, because the impact they can have due is enormous.

Where would you like to see the outdoor industry in the next 5 years, in terms of sustainability?
For it to be completely PFC-free! This is something that should have happened five years ago – there is no excuse for bigger industry players to proclaim that there is such a thing as “harmless PFCs”, we know there isn’t. To be fully PFC-free definitely needs to happen.

I would like to see the industry well on its way to achieving a Net Zero Co2 emissions target, in line with science-based targets.  Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

What key things do you feel people could do to help make their lives more sustainable for the planet?
Everybody should always try to consume/purchase less, which is not easy, but with each purchase we make, stop and ask yourself “Do I really need this?”

Secondly, try to purchase better quality products in order to make things last longer. If you purchase items that are better quality, then a) you would have more money and b) things would last longer.

Lastly, think about the impact that advertising has on you. What is causing that need to have something new, to have something else, which can lead to being wasteful? We underestimate how many companies put these thoughts in to our heads, with subtle techniques to keep buying. This need to purchase is often planted into our brains by companies who may not have a very sustainable business model. It is about an awareness that we should try and have.

Do you feel that the past year, with people experiencing lockdown and the pandemic, has had any impact on the environment, or how people just think about the outdoors?
Yes, I think there is a certain change. We can see this across all of Europe – people are becoming more aware of what natural environment is right there on their doorsteps. There is a great meme about the pandemic, ‘Covid or The Great Walk’ – people are walking around their houses and local areas because they cannot travel further afield, so have to explore their immediate location.

Sadly, this is potentially not very long lasting because there is the chance that once this pandemic is over, people could return to their old habits very quickly. I would like to see people learn from this current situation because there is a lot we can compare between the pandemic and the climate crisis. It is something where we have to look reality in the eye, as the climate crisis is so real and right on our doorsteps.

What is your favourite outdoor pastime in Germany and why?
Cycling through Munich. I cycle everywhere – I never used to cycle, it was not something my family really did. I always found it too cold and rainy. However, now I cycle everywhere – you get to see all parts of where you live – you can cycle through the seasons and see your surroundings change around you. I get to experience changes in my neighbourhood and it just makes me feel happy.

Can you give us one happy tip to help people get through this current time when we are experiencing lockdown life?
During lockdown, I have found group Zooms are fun. After a day working online you often wish to escape from your PC, however, meeting online allows you to socialise with a group of people you have not seen for some time, and who have all come together for downtime and some fun. It’s a great mood lifter and a means to interact with friends!



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The Nikwax Philosophy – More Than Waterproofing. Part 3 – Supporting Conservation

At Nikwax, our focus is on the great outdoors and ensuring we can help people enjoy being outside and making the most of the natural world. Apart from creating aftercare which helps keep people warm, safe and dry outdoors, we also place emphasis upon the responsibility we hold to help care and protect the natural world and vital ecosystems we both enjoy and rely upon.

This logo represents the Nikwax approach to Supporting Conservation.

Here at Nikwax, we believe that everybody has a vested interest in and responsibility to protect the natural world, and there are organisations in place which focus solely on conserving threatened areas. One such organisation which Nikwax strongly supports is the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA).

EOCA is formed of over 130 businesses from within the European Outdoor Industry, which together raise funds to put into conservation projects around the world in a bid to save and preserve endangered habitats and wildlife. Nick Brown, CEO of Nikwax, is now Vice President of EOCA and Nikwax itself has been working closely with the organisation since it was created back in 2006.

©Yadesa Aceh

For more than 12 years, EOCA has helped over 100 projects in over 44 countries, providing over €2 million in funding for conservation. Every year non-profit organisations can apply to EOCA for funding grants and EOCA Members can then nominate projects they wish to back, with a successful shortlist being put out for a public vote to determine who will receive funding. There have been a wide variety of projects which have benefitted from this funding; ranging from protection of Elephant corridors in India, to the protection of Old-Growth forests in Sweden, through to the restoration of fragile habitats in the West Fjords region of Iceland.

One key EOCA fundraising event which Nikwax supported was their Two Million Tree Project,which commenced in 2016. As a means to celebrate EOCA turning 10 years old, and having given over €2 million towards conservation, they created a project that anybody could take part in – to plant over 2 million trees. In June 2018 they smashed their target, with more than 2.5 million trees planted!

©John Muir Trust

To mark Nikwax’s 40 year birthday milestone we wanted to do something that would leave a meaningful legacy, say thank you to everyone who has supported Nikwax over the years – and at the same time, support EOCA’s target to plant £2m trees and World Land Trust conservation efforts. So we did two things: we gifted our friends and followers with the chance to have a tree planted by World Land Trust in their name, whilst those based in the UK were also gifted wild flower seeds to plant wherever they choose. To encourage nature into whatever little patch of Eden they had planted to enjoy.

The World Land Trust is another organisation which helps protect threatened ecosystems. A key focus of theirs is to raise funds for the purchase and protection of critically threatened land and work with local communities to sustainably manage and protect the land. This is a means to ensuring the long-term survival of vital habitats and wildlife.

Nikwax supports World Land Trust through calculating and offsetting carbon emissions and donating the figure to their Carbon Balanced Programme. To further support the Trust’s work Nikwax also makes a matching donation to the World Land Trust Action Fund to use for their most pressing conservation needs.

©World Land Trust

Through the Action Fund Nikwax donations have been used to create the Cerro Candelaria Reserve in Ecuador – where the land purchase was part of a successful challenge to create a protected corridor between Ecuador’s two national parks. This corridor now protects and preserves forest habitats that contains a unique diversity of orchids and a whole host of threatened species. Our donations have also saved forests imminently threatened by the expansion of Oil Palm plantations in Borneo where land was purchased to connect isolated forest areas to provide connectivity for Orang-utans, Pygmy Elephants and other threatened species to move safely.

©HUTAN/Marc Ancrenaz

Putting money aside to help fund conservation and reforestation is something that Nikwax will continue to do to give all the support we can to those organisations that are truly helping to make a difference to the natural world that we all know and love.

©Chris Perrett

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THE NIKWAX PHILOSOPHY – More Than Waterproofing. Part 2 – Carbon Balanced with World Land Trust

At Nikwax we have always firmly believed that we should care for the environment in any way that we can and be committed to low impact – both in terms of the products we make and also with our environmental footprint.

This logo represents the Nikwax approach to reducing its carbon impact.

It is a constant focus for Nikwax to always look to reduce our contribution to climate change; doing whatever we possibly can in order to make a difference to something that seriously threatens both ecosystems and people across the world.

We believe in positive action to try to make a change to minimise our footprint. For example, we have chosen renewable energy within the business wherever possible – use of solar panels, as well as collecting rain water which is used within our production lines. Changing our approach to waste is another method and by changing our waste carrier we have now ensured that 0% of our waste goes to landfill.

One of the key ways in which we are addressing our carbon footprint, and subsequently looking to protect vital ecosystems, is through our connection with World Land Trust. Every year, since 2007, we calculate all our direct and part of our indirect carbon emissions and offset them in collaboration with the World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced Programme.

These Carbon Balanced projects offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the regeneration and protection of carbon-rich ecosystems in the tropics where the sites are designed to robust standards which are measurable, verifiable and carefully monitored in order to conserve the natural world from the damage which has been inflicted upon it. Our work with the World Land Trust is part of our balanced approach to our emissions by following a three-step process to measure and reduce, before offsetting residual emissions.

To see how you could offset carbon emissions and help the World Land Trust, just click here

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Nikwax proud to balance its carbon emissions for 40 years

More Than Waterproofing – 

In their 40th year Nikwax is proud to have balanced all their operational carbon emissions since their start. Maintaining their commitment to conserving and protecting the natural world.

As Nikwax celebrates its 40th year as a forward thinking, innovative company, we are also proud to be celebrating the fact that we are the first and only outdoor company to carbon balance its operations for our entire forty years.

As an environmentally focused company, Nikwax is fully aware that the natural habitats of the world are crucial for vital ecosystems, an enormous array of plant and animal life, and the general beauty that such habitats give us. It is imperative to us that we do what we can to ensure these areas are protected for future generations and for the health of our planet overall.


Climate change is increasingly threatening to alter the way of life for billions of people and future generations. Nick Brown comments: “As consumers become more aware of the environmental challenges, they will become selective about which brands they support. They will want the brands they choose to have a history that they can be proud of, combined with the ability to invent new and greener solutions to the practical problems of life”.

Working in partnership with the World Land Trust (WLT), here at Nikwax we have consistently tracked and calculated our CO2 emissions, which are then offset through donations to the WLT Carbon Balanced Programme.

These funds – which cover our carbon footprint – are used to revitalise damaged or threatened ecosystems and habitat around the world, including key reforestation schemes managed by the WLT.

A benefit from this carbon balancing is that here at Nikwax we can expand our operations whilst limiting our overall environmental impact. This ties in greatly with our overall focus on sustainability and environmental protection, where our range of innovative products are developed for high performance but with low environmental impact.

Over 40 years of carbon balancing our emissions, here at Nikwax we are proud to have donated over £58,000 of funds to the World Land Trust Carbon Balanced programme – we match this figure with a donation towards land protection, making it over £116,000. We look forward to many more years of contributing to saving the magical natural world that we know and love.



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Carbon For Conservation

For almost a decade Nikwax has been supporting World Land Trust (WLT) in safeguarding and restoring critically threatened habitats around the world through the Carbon Balanced programme. Nikwax’s approach to environmental sustainability is completely in line with the offsetting programme’s ethos of measure, reduce and then offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Launched in 2005, the Carbon Balanced programme works by conserving the world’s most biologically important areas. By protecting threatened habitats that would otherwise have been lost, we can avoid the release of stored carbon, as well as promoting absorption and storage through restoration of these habitats.

WorldLandTrust -- attribution to Alejandro Arteaga

WLT has long advocated the approach of measuring emissions year on year, in order to identify areas where you might reduce them.  As one of the programme’s longest running corporate supporters, Nikwax mirrors this approach, by tracking their primary carbon dioxide emissions annually and implementing policies to reduce their footprint. Where policies take time to take effect or residual emissions remain is when WLT believes ‘offsetting’ or ‘balancing’ comes in. WLT believes that offsetting should only be used in conjunction with reductions in emissions at source. Since 2007 Nikwax has calculated and then offset its emissions, plus an estimated figure for a pre-2007 year.

In this way, Nikwax has offset over 4,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions through the programme and by doing so has put over £69,000 into WLT’s conservation projects. Going one step further, Nikwax matches their Carbon Balanced contribution with an additional donation to WLT’s Action Fund, which allows WLT to place funding where it is most urgently needed, across all WLT projects.

Nikwax’s contributions to the Carbon Balanced Programme have supported a number of sites around Ecuador, from the wet Choco at the Río Canandé Reserve in the North, to the dry forests at Laipuna in the South. In Ecuador, Carbon Balanced is currently focussing on the forests of the Nangaritza valley. These are some of the last foothill rainforests that form the only intact natural corridor between the forests of the high Andes around the Podocarpus National Park in the West with the Cordillera del Cóndor mountain range in the East and the Amazon rainforests beyond in Peru. The forests of the Nangaritza valley along with those in the Cordillera del Cóndor mountain range are considered to be one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth.

3-Canande 002

The forests here are under threat from conversion to land for agriculture, mining, logging or for infrastructure development. If this were allowed to happen, these forests, which store large amounts of carbon, would be destroyed or degraded and this carbon would be released into the atmosphere. The Carbon Balanced programme, by protecting these important areas of forest, prevents the release of this carbon or allows the forest to recover, creating an ‘offset’. Protecting these forests, with the support of companies such as Nikwax, safeguards the habitat of species such as the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the Orange-throated Tanager (Wetmorethraupis sterrhopteron), a species restricted to the very edges of the Cordillera del Cóndor in Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador, and north Amazonas, Peru.

Nikwax’s level-headed and industry-leading approach to measuring, reducing and offsetting emissions has been invaluable to the Carbon Balanced Programme in conserving Ecuador’s threatened habitats and species.

More information on Carbon Balanced:

2-Jaguar 002

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River dancing: my quest to save the rainforest

Steve Backshall with birdslastattempt

A guest blog this month comes from BBC wildlife presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star, Steve Backshall.

Easter and its lure of chocolate hold nothing over me: Easter is a time for doing adventurous things. So when I got booted off Strictly, signing up to kayak the 125 miles from Devizes to the Houses of Parliament the following Easter was an obvious distraction!  I was spending all day of every day inside a dance studio and needed something to get my teeth into outside.  I trained hard from the Sunday morning after I got booted off and was kayaking almost every day, often doing marathon distances.

I teamed up with my pal George Barnicoat from the Canoe Club.  Was it as hard as Strictly?  There’s no comparison!  Well, other than my partner was shouting at me, my backside hurt and I was wearing Lycra.  One of the worst things about endurance racing is that you forget all the horrid bits; the chafing, the fatigue, the fierce lows, sitting in your own wee in a kayak with every muscle screaming at you and your brain trying to shut down.  All you remember are the good bits.  So I’ve said I’ll never do it again, but the reality is I’ll have changed my mind in a few weeks!

I’m an avid outdoorsman and explore the globe making programmes about our wonderful world and infinitely beautiful wildlife, so the environment is very special to me.  This kayak race was to raise funds to buy and protect a section of Colombian rainforest, saving it from logging, poaching and any other form of exploitation. I spend so much time in the rainforest I get to see first hand how wondrous it is, but also how fast it’s disappearing.  I desperately wanted to do something tangible, and the World Land Trust that was my nominated charity [the] allowed me to do that.

We were aiming to finish inside 24 hours and we did! We pulled it off: 125 miles paddled in 23 hours and 17 minutes. We finished outside the Houses of Parliament on Easter Sunday morning, after a hellish first day, and a strangely tranquil night of non-stop kayaking. Sore, chafed, muscles screaming and desperate for sleep, but very proud!

We were hampered by not one, but three rudder wire snaps. One of these happened in the middle of nowhere, meaning we had to run with the boat on our shoulders for maybe half an hour. George showed great fortitude, battling on despite neck and back pain, and some real low points in the night, where he kept falling asleep at the paddle!  But somehow we managed to make the tide at Teddington.

The banners, cheers and wishes along the route were hugely appreciated: they carried us through the darkest hours. We thank all those that sponsored us too and because of them we have raised enough money to buy around 500 acres of primary rainforest in Colombia.  I first started doing jungle expeditions in the late 90s and some of the places I go back to now are unrecognisable.  If we don’t do something very soon, we will alter the planet’s systems so fundamentally that there will be no going back.  Supporting the World Land Trust is my way of doing something tangible.

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WLT – Save the Andean Condor

Soaring high above the mountains in the very remotest parts of South America, the Andean Condor is a spectacular sight.

With a wing span of up to three metres, the Andean Condor has a vast range, flying over lowland desert and coastal regions of South America as well as riding thermal currents high over the mountains.

Following the course of the Andes, the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) can be found from Colombia and Venezuela in the north all the way to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of the continent.

Despite its wide distribution, this magnificent bird is in danger. It is classified as Near Threatened by IUCN and its population is in decline.  It is hunted by humans because it is reputed to prey on livestock. Protected areas are few and time is running out.

Andean Condor (juvenile)

But help is at hand. A dedicated team of conservationists in Ecuador are determined to save the Andean Condor. Working with international conservation charity World Land Trust, Ecuadorian NGO Fundación Jocotoco (FJ) is implementing a programme to monitor and protect the Andean Condor as part of a wider conservation programme in the Antisanilla Biological Reserve,  which FJ owns and manages.

Located in central Ecuador on the western slopes of Antisana Volcano, steep cliffs in Antisanilla are the most important nesting and roosting site for Andean Condors in Ecuador and in northern South America.

Antisanilla Reserve

Like other conservation programmes, the Andean Condor project urgently needs funds. In response, and with the support of Nikwax and World Land Trust, the Andean Condor conservation project has been nominated for a grant of €30,000 (£25,000) from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA).

A grant from EOCA would enable Fundación Jocotoco staff to continue to monitor the Andean Condor as part of a project supported by The Peregrine Fund and the National Andean Condor Work Group.

Other elements of the grant proposal include restoring wetlands for the Andean Ibis (Theristicus branickii), by fencing cattle out of sections of the reserve, and tree planting to restore both the páramo and Andean forest habitats.

The catch is, the project will only win the grant if enough people vote for it in an online poll.

And that is why we need your help. People can only register one vote, so we are counting on supporters to encourage their friends and family to vote as well. Multiple votes from the same IP address (ie most offices) may not be counted so please vote from a home computer if possible. WorldLand Trust believes this to be a conservation initiative that deserves all the help it can get so we hope everyone will rise to the challenge and help us save these magnificent birds from extinction.

In 2014, WLT and Nikwax nominated the Caucasian Leopard for an EOCA grant. Thanks to votes from Nikwax supporters, that application was successful. So let’s repeat last year’s success. Please cast your vote to save the Andean Condor. Thank you.

Votes can be cast online at Polling opens on 16 March and closes on 30 March.


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Nikwax helps protect habitat for Jaguar, Spectacled Bear and Baird’s Tapir in Colombia

1,772 acres of Colombia’s threatened Chocó Rainforest has now been saved thanks in part to funding from World Land Trust, and Nikwax is delighted to have played its part in this purchase!

This year, Nikwax has donated £6,364.20 to the World Land Trust’s (WLT) Action Fund for the trust’s most urgent land purchase and protection projects. 2014 is WLT’s 25th Anniversary year and so far the trust has been able to purchase and protect over half a million acres of natural habitats and the wildlife that depend on them.  Nikwax is delighted to have been part of their success story for many years.

WLT chose to use Nikwax’s donation this year to save some critically threatened, hot tropical rainforest of the Chocó in Colombia. The coastal tropical rainforest of the Chocó, which extends from southern Colombia to northern Ecuador in a thin strip, is ranked as the fourth hotspot for biodiversity in the world.

The Chocó forests are home to an extraordinary diversity of species, including large mammals such as Jaguar, Spectacled Bear and Baird’s Tapir. With more than 200 mammal species, 600 bird species and 220 reptile and amphibian species recorded in this rainforest, it is estimated that around 25 per cent of all these species of animals and plants are only found in the Chocó.

But the Chocó is disappearing before our eyes! This is a result of logging by settlers and timber companies, and more recently a boom in the cultivation of oil palm and biofuel crops, agriculture, livestock production and general development.

Spectacled Bear, Colombia

How do WLT protect the reserve?

Once a property is purchased and a reserve created, the ownership and protection is vested in the trust’s local conservation partner. These organisations belong to WLT’s Partner Alliance and all speak regularly about their particular projects and associated challenges. Recognising that the security of a reserve rests with the local organisation, the organisation’s wildlife rangers work on the ground to keep the forests and their wildlife safe.  Often by keeping a presence on the reserve it acts to deter would-be poachers of trees and animals. For this reason, WLT has a fund specifically designed to support the employment of rangers called Keepers of the Wild, and since its launch in 2011 has supported more than 30 rangers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Not only do rangers deter poachers and traffickers, but they also carry out important monitoring work using trail cameras, recording species and assisting scientific expeditions.

WLT has been working with local conservation partner Fundación ProAves (ProAves) in Colombia since 2008 and has contributed to several land purchases. This new purchase is on the banks of the Atrato river and close to national public lands and indigenous reserves. Rising to 400 metres above sea level, this typical Chocó rainforest has very high rainfall and humidity. It is close to Las Tangaras Reserve, which WLT has been supporting for some years.

Colombia, Chocó forest habitat

Colourful Puffleg Hummingbird found in the Choco © Luis Mazariegos

Spectacled Bear © Paul Salaman

Choco forest of Colombia © ProAves