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          The Long Run Initiative Newsletter February 2014

          Dear Friends,

          As the New Year progresses, I can’t help think about measuring progress in terms of time. In less than five years, the Zeitz Foundation’s Long Run Initiative has grown to 78 members worldwide.  As a founding member, I recall the first meeting in 2009. There I met an interesting, accomplished and successful group of remarkable people from around the world. It struck me that we were not only united in our efforts to advance and mend our existence on this planet, but also in the firm belief that by prospering as private businesses, we could work towards a net positive impact on our environment and communities.

          Admittedly, just a few months earlier, Randy and I were skeptical at first. When Jochen Zeitz initially visited Monte Azul and presented his vision, it all seemed almost too good to be true. The LRD candidate would submit to a gruelling (yes, it turned out to be so!), stringently monitored and measured, evaluation process prior to earning the prestigious certification. But it wasn’t the scientific methodology that appealed to me necessarily. 

          What struck me as different from other programs and certifications was the equal inclusion of culture and commerce into the sustainability model. The value Jochen placed on culture, which includes art, food, sports, among other areas, as a significant contribution to sustainability, all resonated immensely with me.

          Interestingly, Jochen arrived with these heady ideas during our very first month of operation at Monte Azul. At the heart of Monte Azul is art, in its most specific, as well as general forms. In terms of practical applications, art can be the act of creation, of innovation and problem solving. By emulating the practice and craft of the artist in everything we do at Monte Azul, we allow ourselves to try new things, look for creative solutions, and to innovate. This is how we modelled our business.

          At the time we were met with some misperception (and probably some snickers) by the industry. Perhaps they saw just another couple of crazies from California living out some whacky, pie in the sky dream high in the mountains of Costa Rica (although, admittedly, there is some element of truth to that…). Nonetheless, on our serious side, two small business owners from San Francisco, with our graduate degrees under arm, we were determined to make our project commercially viable, and a success. We were unyielding in proving to ourselves and others that a business could contribute positively to the environment and the community, while remaining profitable, and that only then it could it be truly sustainable.

          Beginning in 2003, we designed our enterprise with art at its foundation and applied its principals to everything we did, in every area of operation. The inauguration of the Zeitz Foundation in 2009 coincided with our own. We like to think that it was a sign of the times, a manifestation of the need for change. To effect change, we believe the private sector must take leadership and use its advantages in agility and networking to effect the change our world needs in order to survive. Jochen’ s alliance with Sir Richard Branson on the B Team initiative is another indicator that we are on the right side, and with continued growth of the LRI, perhaps we can reach a tipping point in the right direction sooner than later.

          It has been a tremendous honour to be part of this prestigious group, and we sincerely thank all of you for sharing in the hard work, dedication and commitment to the future.

          Click on the link to read
          The Long Run Initiave's February 2014 newsletter.

          Thank you.

          Carlos Rojas


          Monte Azul, Costa Rica

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