Thank you very much.
I'd like to thank you first for providing me with the opportunity to speak before the committee today, and I'd like to congratulate you for addressing this important topic. At Earth Rangers we believe strongly in the importance of collaboration among all sectors of society in order to achieve environmental goals, and this includes the private sector.
Earth Rangers is a national ENGO focused on engaging children and their families in conservation. Our programs are based on research indicating that the number one environmental concern for children across Canada is protecting animals from extinction.
We travel to over 650 elementary schools each year and give a fun and dynamic presentation featuring live animals, which captures the imagination of students and introduces them to environmental science themes. We also have a membership program, which just last week grew to over 100,000 children all across Canada.
Through this program, we provide our members and their families with tangible activities they can do to positively impact the environment, things like planting pollinator gardens in their backyards and recycling.
Earth Rangers is funded through a variety of sources, with about 30% coming from the corporate sector. We have partners across a variety of industries, including natural resources, technology, finance and insurance, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaged goods.
Today I'd like to share with you three distinct examples of successful and innovative corporate sector partnerships from the past few years.
The first relates to our Bring Back the Wild program. Bring Back the Wild educates our members on the importance of protecting animals, and empowers them to take action by starting a fundraising campaign. Each year Earth Rangers works with our conservation partners to identify four unique Canadian species that are facing threats in the wild. We then develop tangible projects to protect those animals, ranging from conservation research to land acquisition to habitat stewardship.
Last September we launched a Bring Back the Wild project focused on the western screech owl in the Elk River Valley in southeastern British Columbia. The project was developed in collaboration with Teck, a large B.C.-based mining company, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Teck and NCC have been working together since 2012 to protect significant portions of land in the ElkRiver Valley. We at Earth Rangers felt that this could be a great opportunity to bring national attention to this commitment while ensuring continued funding for ongoing stewardship and conservation research in the area.
The project has provided the opportunity for Teck to leverage the Earth Rangers' network to promote its work with NCC to a much broader audience, highlighting its environmental commitment. The benefit to Earth Rangers is significant funding from Teck to provide educational materials to our members about the screech owl project. As of earlier this week 5,200 kids across Canada, members of Earth Rangers, had raised over $65,000 for the project, with a significant portion of these funds being donated by Earth Rangers to NCC to conduct important conservation research on the western screech owl. As you can see, this project is the true definition of a win-win-win.
The next partnership I want to talk about is one with Schneider Electric Canada, which is focused on our headquarters, the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology. The Earth Rangers Centre is one of the most efficient buildings in the world, using nearly 90% less energy than other buildings of its size. One of the most unique and impactful aspects of the building is the Schneider Electric building automation system. The automation system controls the heating, cooling, and ventilation, and the operation of day-to-day systems in the building. It can turn on a light, open a door, heat or cool a room, and provide additional fresh air when needed. This sophisticated system allows the Earth Rangers Centre to operate more efficiently and to lessen our environmental impact. Schneider Electric not only provided this system at no cost to us but also continues to provide funding every year for its continued operation and maintenance. It has used our building as a testing ground for new products and innovations, as a sales tool for new customers to see their products in action, and even as an event venue for global executive meetings. This partnership is a perfect example of how the private sector can not only support ENGOs but also leverage that support to achieve its own business objectives.
Finally, I'd like to discuss another form of private sector partnership that has been highly successful for Earth Rangers. We have formed this type of partnership with many different companies, but today I will focus on the example of the Imperial Oil Foundation.
The natural resource sector is unique because while oftentimes head offices are located in places like Calgary or Vancouver, their core operations are in smaller, more remote locations. Many resource companies have put a priority on giving in the communities where their employees live and work and in which they are having the most significant environmental impact.
Earth Rangers' in-school education programs are unique in their ability to travel almost anywhere in Canada. For the past four years Imperial Oil has been supporting our program in Cold Lake, Lac la Biche, and Bonnyville in northern Alberta. Not only does this provide a great opportunity for Imperial Oil to bring something exciting and different to the community but it also provides Earth Rangers with the opportunity to expand our programs and access to children in an area we wouldn't otherwise have access to.
In some other instances, we provided our partners with the opportunity to directly engage their employees in selecting the schools we visit. The employees nominate their children's or grandchildren's school, and the company then sponsors the program in the schools with the most nominations. The employee feels like a hero to their child, and the company knows that they're impacting the communities they care most about.
Without the support of the corporate sector, we would not be able to do nearly as much as we currently do. In order to encourage corporations to continue to give back and to increase their charitable dollars each year, it’s important that ENGOs recognize that support and engage in honest and positive dialogue with the companies that have taken a leadership role.
I also believe the government can play an important role in encouraging these types of partnerships and collaborations. Things like promoting best practices, using its position as a regulator to convene multi-stakeholder groups around certain issues, and providing seed funding for innovative partnerships would all be very valuable.
Thank you. That concludes my statement.