Biodiversity & Ecosystems
Biodiversity & EcosystemsA commitment to the preservation of biodiversity
A commitment to prioritising local gestures and knowledge. The transmission of skills and métiers that transform materials in a sustainable fashion. But also a world capable of responding to the needs of future generations. Such is the multi-level approach adopted by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, which seeks to act both upstream – by supporting research – and downstream, via targeted interventions in the field. Through its Biodiversity & Ecosystems programme, the Foundation accompanies organisations both large and small working towards the common goal of protecting our precious biodiversity.
In 2008, the year of its creation, the Foundation established a dialogue and a partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), a think tank founded by the French economist Laurence Tubiana. The institute acts as an interface between research and decision-making, shedding light on the political and international issues related to sustainable development and global governance. The partnership produced a series of annual conferences which aim to encourage action and improve awareness of biodiversity-related issues, while providing a platform for researchers to share their findings.
Since 2016, the Foundation has accompanied the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and its Africa-TWIX (Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange) programme. This initiative brings together five Central African nations to cooperate in the fight against the illegal trade in wild animals through a transnational information and training platform, which is currently being extended to eastern and southern Africa.
Because the effects of climate change on biodiversity are local as well as global, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès committed in 2019 to supporting two initiatives based within France: a participatory science project that seeks to observe and monitor the nature that surrounds us, and a cooperative that promotes sustainable practices amongst farmers.
The Foundation accompanies Vigie-Nature École, a project designed for pupils in schools and spearheaded by the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Thanks to the project’s rigorous observation protocols, schoolchildren from primary education onwards can gather data on pollinating insects, birds and wild plants, which are then sent to researchers for analysis. Vigie-Nature École offers a playful means of engaging young people with their environment by inviting them to participate in a scientific effort that is essential for understanding the consequences of global climatic changes.
It is also in response to these phenomena that the Foundation supports L’Atelier Paysan, a French cooperative that accompanies farmers in the design and manufacture of tools and buildings adapted to small-scale agroecology. By reintegrating craft into the agricultural world, this collective encourages the revival of specialised skills and techniques – such as animal traction – that are respectful of the natural environment. Such changes in the world of farming are essential for ensuring the preservation of rural biodiversity.
In 2019, the Foundation also undertook a three-year commitment to support the research of Université de La Rochelle doctoral student Jérémy Lemaire into the study of four caiman species in the Nouragues nature reserve in French Guiana. Bolstering our knowledge of this species – a precious indicator for measuring the quality of the surrounding environment – will contribute to preventing not only their decline but also to the protection of the ecosystem as a whole. This research project is being carried out in collaboration with the Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
Since 2020, the Foundation has supported “Un Cercle Immense”, a project to renovate and enlarge the Saline Royal d’Arc-et-Senans heritage site to form a unique biodiversity hotspot in eastern France. This ambitious project brings together sustainable resource management and a commitment to increasing environmental quality with creativity, experimentation and education. To this end, the gardens that will be created on the site will be open to future gardening and environmental professionals as well as the general public.
Working in partnership with the Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has decided to launch Manuterra, a new programme that will seek to raise awareness of the living world amongst younger generations. This programme consists of immersive sessions for primary and secondary school pupils that will take place in the heart of a garden of edible plants in the process of being cultivated. During school hours, and under the guidance of a mediator and a professional gardener, pupils are invited to create, landscape and maintain a plot of land using a range of permaculture techniques. The Besançon Board of Education and the Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France have partnered with the Foundation for the two pilot years of this unique pedagogical scheme, with the intention of deploying it in other regions of France in coming years.
Finally, since July 2021, the Foundation has been working with the Federation of Catalan Nature Reserves to ensure the preservation the Massane beech forest, located in the Pyrénées-Orientales department. This national nature reserve, which has been growing without human interference for 150 years, is a major site for biodiversity and research, with 8,200 listed species. In a context of global climate change, the designation of the forest as a Unesco World Heritage Site in August 2021 acknowledged the unique character of this area and its importance for the study of forest ecosystems, whilst further underscoring the need to preserve it.