The Biomimicry Institute consults with its Conservation Advisory Board
and Business Advisory Board members to help ensure that our conservation
strategies and business models remain effective and responsible.
Business Advisory Board Members
Jay Harman, President and CEO, PAX Scientific
Dawn McGee, CEO, Good Works Ventures
Jakki Mohr, Professor, University of Montana Business School
Conservation Advisory Board Members
- Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
If you have questions about our Innovation for Conservation program, currently in development, please contact:
+1 406 728 4134 x201
Conservation Inspired by Nature’s Genius
Our most important resource is our capacity to innovate. Without innovation, humankind cannot continue to adapt to a complex and changing world. But where will these new ideas for humanity come from? Experience and intuition tells us many of the best of these ideas will come from the genius evident in the natural world around us.
Biomimicry — technology emulating nature — has already resulted in hundreds of revolutionary innovations that make our lives easier, healthier, and more sustainable. Phones (whose loudspeakers were inspired by human eardrums), Velcro (inspired by cockleburs), and airplanes (birds) are nature-inspired innovations so ubiquitous in our lives we scarcely think about their origin.
More recent examples of biomimicry include new ways to manufacture concrete developed from studying coral reefs, highly-efficient wind turbines modeled on the shape of whale flippers, and entirely new approaches of creating color inspired by butterflies, that would allow you to read this web page outside, in bright sunlight, while using a fraction of the energy of a conventional monitor.
The continuance of a biologically diverse world is our greatest insurance that humanity will be able to successfully innovate no matter what the challenge. That’s why we are metamorphosing our Innovation for Conservation program, and will be announcing new developments in the coming weeks and months.
“After all, shouldn’t we properly honor the organisms and ecosystems that evolved these ingenious, sustainable ideas, and thank them for showing us the way?” ~ Janine Benyus
Please check back soon as we begin revealing our new vision for Innovation for Conservation. Or you can email Sam.Stier(at)Biomimicry.net. Thank you, and not just from us, but on behalf of millions of neighboring species….
A large amount of money donated to conservation efforts actually ends up being spent on things like utility bills and expensive office space rental. Because we want the hard-earned income of a company or person that makes a generous donation to go to actual, on-the-ground conservation efforts, The Biomimicry Institute does not take any administrative fee out of your Innovation for Conservation donations. Instead, we cover the administrative costs of the Innovation for Conservation program out of grants and donations to TBI. If you would like to help us continue to run Innovation for Conservation this way, we welcome your support.
There is no single specific formula for achieving effective conservation. However, effective conservation projects are generally based on sound science, just social practices and solid fiscal management. The Innovation for Conservation program therefore works with a wide variety of conservation partners and supports different kinds of conservation projects and strategies, including small-scale conservation efforts led by local groups initiating fresh conservation efforts and building in-country conservation capacity over time, as well as larger budget projects led by established organizations with proven track records of success.
We invest in projects that result in sustainable conservation, whether that be land conservation, projects that address overhunting, habitat restoration, sustainable livelihood development, protected area support, or other kinds of initiatives. What is most important is that applicants demonstrate that their proposed conservation activities target the relevant conservation issues using sound science, socially effective and appropriate strategies, and cost-effective approaches. Projects are welcome to include an integrated research component (where further knowledge is required for effective conservation activity), but must primarily be designed to result directly in conservation.
Innovation for Conservation does not support conservation projects that result in the forced removal of people or unwelcome restrictions to traditional resource management systems. Participatory dialogue amongst inclusive stakeholders must be conducted for conservation activities having potentially adverse social impacts, and the risk of any such impacts must be demonstrably and adequately addressed. The Biomimicry Institute believes that successful conservation projects tend to include traditional community-based natural resource management systems and integrate social concerns during all stages of project development and implementation.
Companies with biomimetic or biologically-inspired products, services, or savings can generally participate and use the program logo. However, we also screen each new potential participant to ensure the program’s reputation is maintained. We do not accept participants to the program whose products or services may harm people, other organisms, or the environment.
Donations from other organizations and individuals in support of the program’s efforts are also welcome, as “Friends of the Innovation for Conservation program”. Other organizations could include, for example, companies whose products benefit from their association to nature, green technology products, etc.
Each of us has ample reason to sustain the natural world that sustains us. Individuals and companies can contribute to Innovation for Conservation’s projects to protect high biodiversity areas or other specific organisms and ecosystems. We especially encourage companies to participate that benefit from products, services, savings, etc. inspired by nature. Individual inventors and researchers inspired by models in the natural world are also especially encouraged to participate.
There are many reasons to participate in the program. For example, the program is uniquely suited to meet the interests of companies wishing to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility, as well as align their brand with the compelling idea that nature has a great deal to teach us about improving our technologies and designs.
The value to our society of the simple act of saying “thank you” to one another is also relevant when one species says “thank you” to another. Many of the things we take for granted today exist because past generations took action in the past to preserve them. Giving thanks is a unique part of what it means to be human.
Conservation projects supported through the program can specifically aim to protect the organisms or ecosystems which have inspired a company’s innovations. Participation in the program thus emphasizes the unique origin of a company’s innovative products, helping to tell the product’s unique story. This is a powerful product differentiator in the marketplace.
Through honoring the original patent holder of the breakthrough innovation, participation in the program also clearly demonstrates a company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sense of integrity.
What does the Biomimicry Institute do to administer the program?
When a company expresses interest in making a donation to the program, the Biomimicry Institute identifies compelling conservation projects that are working to protect the habitat of the inspiring organism. This discovery process entails researching existing conservation projects and soliciting new projects through a Call for Proposals process.
We review each project or proposal that we are considering recommending using in-house and expert third-party reviewers.
We facilitate the generation of marketing materials which are made available to the participating company for their marketing purposes.
We evaluate the projects to monitor their success (soliciting and reviewing project reports, conducting site evaluations, etc.) and recommend changes to the project and/or make new investment allocations as necessary.
We publicize the good work of program participants through our various extensive media outlets.
Are the conservation projects effective?
We do everything possible to ensure the conservation projects you support are effective. Our staff has years of conservation and ecology experience, both in on-the-ground conservation initiatives as well as with large conservation and development organizations in the private and public sectors. The conservation projects we consider supporting go through a rigorous due diligence and monitoring procedure. We apply very specific and rigorous scientific and social responsibility screens to all conservation projects we support (see our eligibility criteria). Candidate projects are reviewed by ad hoc committees of relevant experts, our staff, our advisory boards, and finally our board of directors. Once investments are made in a specific project, grantees provide a mid-year and end-of-year report on their progress.
How is participation publicized?
Biomimicry and The Biomimicry Institute are enjoying unprecedented growth in profile and positive press. We are regularly contacted by print, digital and television media for stories about companies developing innovative products inspired by nature. With this kind of access, contributions from companies are publicized to highly receptive mass audiences through multiple media venues, without resorting to the artifice of advertising. From the standpoint of public relations, this is better advertising than money can buy.
Company participation is also highlighted through other channels (e.g., through press releases, our website, our newsletters, etc.) and helps provide third party, independent support for your company’s environmental commitment.
Marketing materials are generated from our conservation partners (e.g., photographs of inspiring organisms in the wild, conservation activities, etc.) and are shared with participating companies to use for their own marketing purposes. Participating companies also receive the right to use the Innovation for Conservation logo to advertise their participation in the program.
Can just anyone participate?
Companies with biomimetic and biologically-inspired products, services, or savings can generally participate and use the program logo. However, we screen each new potential participant to ensure the program’s reputation is maintained. We do not accept participants to the program whose products or services may harm people, other organisms or the environment.
Donations from other organizations and individuals in support of the program’s efforts are also welcome, as “Friends of the Innovation for Conservation program”. Other organizations could include, for example, companies whose products benefit from their association to Nature, green technology products, etc.
What does it cost to participate?
There are a variety of ways to structure contributions to the program, and we will work with your company to find the one that best fits your needs. For example, companies may contribute an on-going percentage of income or savings derived from biologically-inspired innovations, contribute a certain amount of money per-unit-sold, or make a one-time up-front donation. Other methods of contributing may come in the form of stock, a portion of brokerage fees derived from investment capital, or royalties from biologically-inspired patents. Contributions may be philanthropic or considered a marketing expense, providing additional accounting flexibility.