The Long Run was launched in 2009 as the Zeitz Foundation’s global programme. The Foundation’s mission is to create and support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve long-lasting impact and sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4Cs) in privately managed areas. The Long Run pursues the Zeitz Foundation’s mission internationally by supporting and building recognition for integrated ecosystems management across different landscapes and seascapes.
Nine destinations, The Long Run's founding members, were selected on the basis of their commitment and unique approach to sustainability. Their collaboration provided the basis on which The Long Run developed its approach and strategy. Going from strength to strength, the initiative evolved into an independent UK-based non-profit organisation in March 2015, with its own board of directors. It is now a registered charity in the UK.
Following a holistic approach to sustainability embodying the 4Cs, The Long Run is fast emerging as a driving force to foster sustainable thinking globally by putting the Long Run philosophy of acting today for a better tomorrow into practice all aspects of daily life. Initially, The Long Run has focussed on sustainable tourism destinations, often hosted in pristine or fragile environments. Currently Long Run members conserve 5 Million acres of nature, and touch the lives of 500,000 people. Going forward, The Long Run aspires to conserve 20 million acres of biodiversity and improve the life of two million people by 2020.
LRI has a 3-tiered structure of Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) certified Long Run Destinations, Long Run Fellow Members and Long Run Affiliate Member. The Long Run Fellow membership is the entry point into the GER certification process. Global Ecosphere Retreats® recognition is the ultimate status that the Long Run Fellow members can graduate to by successfully completing the GER Recognition Process. The Long Run Affiliate Members are organizations believing in The Long Run philosophy and committed to support it. While the Long Run Fellow members and GER Recognised Long Run destinations are nature-based tourism businesses, the Long Run Affiliate members are of varied backgrounds from different sectors of the society. Membership in all categories is institutional.
This organizational structure helps member organizations in their improvement journey on the path to excellence in sustainability. It also instils and enables mutual learning, cooperation and support among members in their efforts to become truly sustainable tourism destinations committed to following the 4Cs approach to sustainable ecosystems management in their quest for profitable business and human wellbeing through sustainable land-use.
All members of the Long Run are required to commit to the 4Cs approach to sustainability, although the level of this commitment differs according to the different categories of membership.