The ERM Foundation enables our employees to channel their expertise and passion into environmental and social initiatives that offer far-reaching benefits within their own communities and around the world.
Through the Foundation's projects, employees can lend practical and technical support to many small and not-for-profit organizations that otherwise would not benefit from the breadth of ERM's expertise. We focus on areas where our skills and experience can deliver the greatest impact:
- Supporting conservation and biodiversity;
- Providing environmental education;
- Creating access to clean water and sanitation, and
- Reducing carbon emissions.
Our regional committees, chaired by our regional CEOs and with employee representation, drive the work of the Foundation across ERM. The Foundation's global Pro Bono and Matching Funds Committees involve senior leadership, supported by employees from across the business.
Countries where the ERM Foundation has provided pro bono technical support, grant funding or investments through the LCEF include:
|Dominican Republic||Kenya||South Sudan|
Pro Bono Support
ERM employees are encouraged to provide pro bono technical and professional support for NGOs, social enterprises and community groups that share our commitment to creating a more sustainable world. In FY14, more than 1,600 pro bono hours were contributed by 127 employees to support 47 projects in 22 countries. Many of our employees also contributed additional volunteer hours, and committed ongoing support to projects.
Fundraising and Grant-Making
During FY14, the Foundation continued its emphasis on funding organizations and projects in which ERM employees are also providing technical and/or volunteering support. This approach ensures a greater impact from the contributions we provide.
The majority of the Foundation's grant funds come from employee donations and locally organized fundraising events. ERM matches a portion of these contributions. In FY14, $366,000 was disbursed in grants to support 54 projects in 16 countries. For FY15, we will continue our commitment to contribute 75 cents for every dollar raised by employees to projects that have been approved by our global Matching Funds Committee.
In FY14, we invited a number of our internal experts to develop an approach for measuring the impact of the work carried out by the ERM Foundation and LCEF. A number of tools are being piloted on a range of projects we support, and we will refine these during FY15.
The ERM Foundation aims to run a large-scale 'flagship' project in each of the regions. These projects are in partnership with an established NGO or social enterprise and are designed to engage the technical and fundraising support of ERM employees across the region. Flagship projects are on a larger scale than most Foundation projects and will deliver significant and lasting environmental and socio-economic benefits at a regional or global level.
Employees across North America and LAC have selected an Arctic fisheries initiative as their new Americas flagship project. Fish is a crucial year-round food source for some of the Arctic's most isolated communities, yet in many inhabited parts of the region nearly all fresh food and fish are imported. One such town is Gjoa Haven, which lies 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle and more than 1,000 kilometers from the nearest city.
The Arctic Fisheries Project will support a sustainable, exploratory and commercial fishery near Gjoa Haven, providing much-needed local employment as the area has a 30 percent rate of unemployment. The project will link the traditional knowledge of Inuit communities with Western scientific methods, laying a framework for conservation. The longer-term objective for this project is to replicate the model within other Arctic communities.
The EMEA region flagship project has been ongoing since FY13. This project is in partnership with a Tanzania-based conservation group (the PAMS Foundation) and seeks to reduce levels of elephant poaching on the Tanzania-Mozambique border. Since this project was established, employees from across the EMEA region have raised more than $47,000, including company matching funds. In FY14, more than 250 hours of pro bono consulting hours were also donated to support the PAMS Foundation's anti-poaching work.
In APAC, a Flagship project has been selected that will focus on clean cookstoves in Myanmar, and this will commence in FY15.
The PAMS Foundation
The PAMS Foundation is a Tanzania-based conservation group. Its Ruvuma Elephant Project is located in Southern Tanzania. The area supports many elephants and other wildlife, and forms an important ecological link between the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania and the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique. In recent years, there has been a serious increase in elephant poaching. The Ruvuma Elephant Project aims to improve the status of elephant conservation in the area.
Since 2011, PAMS Foundation staff have trained and supported over 200 game scouts to undertake regular anti-poaching patrols. This includes ground patrols conducted by Village Game Scouts and aerial surveillance. To date, successes have included the capture of: 1,582 snares; 25,586 illegal timber pieces; 175 elephant tusks; 805 firearms; 1,531 rounds of ammunition; six vehicles and 15 motorcycles; and the arrest of 563 people.
Commenting on their partnership with the ERM Foundation, PAMS' Founding Member, Krissie Clarke, said, "We are working with the ERM Foundation, which has created a Geographical Information System that, together with several hand-held units, will allow our field scouts to collect anti-poaching information and analyze the data and initiate the necessary action in real time. In order to ensure this runs smoothly, the ERM Foundation has also provided funds for a database manager, a laptop computer and a vehicle. The PAMS Foundation and the communities of the Ruvuma are very grateful for all this support."
Providing Clean Water to Rural Honduras
In FY14, Anna Escuer from ERM's Boston office helped Engineers Without Borders (EWB) secure a grant from the ERM Foundation for a clean water project in Honduras. In a poor, rural community near Guaimaca, Honduras, 300 residents, especially children, are faced with health problems related to drinking and bathing in contaminated water. EWB stepped in to develop a clean drinking water system. Anna, multilingual and aided by pro bono time, travelled to Guaimaca with EWB to lead the Education & Management group and assist during construction.
Anna said, "We spent 10 days in the field, working hand-in-hand with a local NGO and the project recipients ... The community members worked hard to dig the trenches, protect the well site, construct the foundations of the water tank... and so did we! It was a life-changing experience."
Since 2005, the ERM Foundation has provided $152,000 in grants to EWB in support of 23 projects in developing countries. Each of these projects has affected positively the quality of life for residents in these often-remote villages.
Phil Churchill, London, U.K.
Climbing to New Heights
Phil was nominated for a Sustainability Award for bringing together a group of ERM employees from across the EMEA region to participate in a sponsored climb of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Ruvuma project. This fundraising activity raised more than $7,000 for the project (including company matching funds).
Speaking of this experience, Phil commented, "I've always been passionate about wildlife, and when I heard about the project that the Foundation was involved with, it was almost like a dream come true because it was exactly what I would want to raise money for. The moment that we reached the summit of Kilimanjaro and saw the sun start to rise was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen. Having the opportunity to meet the PAMS Foundation while we were out there was the icing on the cake because it enabled us to see how our money was going to help them."