ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
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WILDLIFE WORKS ORIGIN STORY
"Traditional climate solutions around the world are generally rooted in the inequity towards local communities in the Global South. They’ve suffered mightily already from climate change and we are committed to making sure that they are at the center of climate solutions."
FOUNDER + PRESIDENT OF WILDLIFE WORKS
In 1986, Mike co-founded and built one of the leading management consulting companies in the U.S. (Axiom Management Consulting) which was successfully sold in 1995 to Cambridge Technology Partners (Novell), a NASDAQ company. Axiom specialized in Business Renewal, a proprietary process for helping Fortune 1,000 corporations to redesign their business operations to make them faster, more flexible and better able to support profitable growth.
During a trip to Kenya in 1996, Mike learned about the conflict between wildlife and rural communities. It caused him to think about effective ways to solve this problem, and he ultimately developed a plan that would protect wildlife in a direct and unique way; by providing people in wildlife rich areas with sustainable economic alternatives to poaching and slash and burn agriculture.
Mike founded Wildlife Works in 1997 on the principle that the needs of wildlife must be balanced with the need for work for the local communities who share their environment.
He looked for an area with a high level of conflict between communities and wildlife to best test his new model. Mike established a Wildlife Works conservation area named Rukinga Sanctuary in South East Kenya in a wildlife corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, known as the Kasigau Corridor. At the edge of the Rukinga Sanctuary, Mike built an eco-factory to produce sustainable apparel. Jobs were created from the conservation efforts and the eco-factory, and soon, the wildlife populations began to increase and flourish.
In 2008, in response to new developments with the United Nation's REDD+ initiative (where carbon markets could have a role in financing forest conservation) Mike launched a new venture, Wildlife Works Carbon LLC, to pursue more rapid expansion of the Wildlife Works Conservation model through the sale of REDD+ carbon credits. As a result, the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project became the first REDD+ project in the world to issue REDD+ carbon credits under the internationally recognized Verified Carbon Standard(VCS). We are continuing to build our portfolio of high quality REDD+ projects in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, to protect 5 million hectares of native forest that will mitigate 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, and create thousands of sustainable jobs.
In 2012, Mike founded Code REDD, a nonprofit whose mission is to support and scale the REDD+ mechanism to realize its full potential; to empower people, preserve forests, protect wildlife, and reduce emissions. Under Mike's leadership, Code REDD launched its consumer initiative, Stand for Trees, to raise awareness about the impact of protecting forests and provide a platform to act.
With over 20 years of experience working directly with developing country governments, private sector and local communities on implementing conservation projects, Mike has led Wildlife Works to become one of the world's leaders in REDD+.
Mike is a Canadian citizen who, when not traveling to the threatened forests of the world, is a resident of Northern California. He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Birmingham University, England.