The Zeitz Foundation was founded in 2008 by Jochen Zeitz, Director of Kering and Chairman of the board's Sustainable Development Committee. Inspired by the efforts of conservationists, scientists, and artists, and recognizing the need for furthering collaboration and alliances around the world, Zeitz founded the Zeitz Foundation with the intention of achieving the highest standards in sustainability through the balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce in privately managed areas.
A Word from the Founder
Over the years, as the CEO of an international company, I have witnessed both individuals and companies achieve their creative and earnings potentials as much as I have seen that potential neglected.
I believe that we are at a crossroads and the outcome of tomorrow depends on our finding new ways to translate our passions into meaningful connections with the world around us today—and not just with people, but with all living forms. The future of our ecosphere begins with that.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world, and to be inspired by a vast number of places, cultures, and people; through it all my experience has been that we have a lot in common, despite our differences. For one, we all depend on this planet for our existence and our continued survival. And in one-way or another, we are all part of—and sometimes victims of—a global economy.
Therefore, I have established the Zeitz Foundation to support creative and innovative enterprises that take into account those connections, embracing differences and diversity.
Sustainability does not need to come at the sacrifice of economic prosperity. Through projects that balance conservation, community, culture,
I hope to encourage a new model for sustainable development—one that shows how working toward ecosphere safety can be commercially viable. I am convinced that if revenues generated by the success of these inclusive, holistic approaches are poured back into the Whole—the holistic system involving the entire sum of its parts—they can help to safeguard natural resources, enhance the livelihoods of communities, and promote sustainable economic development.
Some of the greatest challenges in my professional life have resulted in the most exciting opportunities. Along the way, I have been driven by my passion to find meaning and to create value, and I’ve been inspired by the beliefs of others.
In the past I often struggled with the thought that any contribution I could make as an individual outside of my business life would simply be insignificant when it came to making the world a better place. At the very least, I wanted to find sustainable ways to reduce harm and maximize good.
But today I truly believe that if each of us were to do our own share of good—whether small or large—to improve the way we live, think and act, to push the envelope and recognize the interconnectedness of all, then the world would undoubtedly change for the better. For this reason I have established this Foundation to serve as a platform for positive change, contributing its own fair share.
Nobody’s perfect. We make mistakes and we’ve got a long way to go and a lot more to do before we can start patting ourselves on the back, but it’s a start.
With many thanks for your support and best wishes,
Q&A with Jochen Zeitz on The Long Run
(providing insight into the creation of his Foundation and The Long Run philosophy)