Jochen Zeitz is the inspirational chair of the BTeam and the founder of The Zeitz Foundation which supports The Long Run, a community of like-minded, innovative people committed to leveraging the power of their business for the health of the planet and the well-being of people. Jochen also owns a sustainable safari lodge called Segera in Kenya. Find out more about Jochen here.
One word that describes you?
In your own words, what do you do?
I’m trying to change the role of business in the world. Away from purely financially driven motives to corporate, social and environmental meaning.
Which is your favourite part of your job?
I thrive when I work creatively with a great team.
Which is the part that you enjoy the least?
That it sometimes takes too long to make a great idea work. Anything you want to change is usually met with resistance, no matter how good the idea.
Who are your greatest influences?
My parents when they were still alive, and my wife. My parents taught me how to live and behave in this world and it defines what I am doing now. My wife is a film producer and we bounce ideas off each other.
Best advice you’ve been given?
No matter how successful you are, always stay with both feet on the ground.
Your personal indulgence?
A good glass of wine.
How do you like to travel?
In a small plane where I can see what is happening on the ground. I prefer to fly in a small plane flying low level over the Savanna.
Favourite sustainable hotel or other place to stay?
I stay at the properties which are members of The Long Run. They truly are trying to contribute to the 4C’s – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. I’d rather be in a comfortable setting that feels more like home. Hotels should have something unique and specialised to offer. I am totally biased and I am always happiest when I get back to Segera in Kenya.
What must happen now to help make our planet more sustainable?
The sustainability train has left the station. We have a climate agreement, with or without America, and the biggest polluters around the world have realized that they need to act NOW rather than just make more political noise. We’ve reached a tipping point, and it’s a question of time more than anything.
We have to transform businesses, and they have to provide solutions to some of the environmental issues that they have created, and to help societies and communities according to the Sustainable Development Goals to bring people out of extreme poverty. Businesses need to solve environmental problems, and this can only happen if they become part of the solution rather than continue to be the problem.
If you could have one hour with a world leader, who would it be and what would you say?
It would be Barack Obama, to ask him questions and listen. I’d like to know what he’s learned about how to get things done as a President, and the barriers to success as a President.
Any regrets so far?
No, I don’t look back.
The Long Run is a community of like-minded, innovative people committed to leveraging the power of their business for the health of the planet and the well-being of people. All members of The Long Run are tourism businesses that directly manage or significantly influence the management of a natural area of conservation value. Each member initially joins as a Fellow Member and strives to become recognised as a Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER®).
GER® members of The Long Run are centers of excellence in sustainability. Each GER® member has undergone all the necessary steps of the rigorous GER® recognition process. Being a GER® demonstrates their commitment as a leader in sustainable tourism and the extensive positive impacts their business has on biodiversity and the well-being of people through pursuing the holistic balance in Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce (4Cs).
View NOW interview with the Founder of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a member of The Long Run that is also a member of the NOW Force for Good Alliance.
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