Rainforest Trust honored Curt Vander Meer with an award recognizing his leadership in conservation on December 8th as part of our 30th Anniversary Celebration and Species Legacy Auction. The award was given to celebrate his vision and commitment to global conservation.
Vander Meer is CEO of Indianapolis-based Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC), a premium fairtrade chocolate company that supports conservation efforts worldwide by “giving back” 10% of their profits annually. Under Curt’s leadership, in the past three years they have given $1.4 million to protect endangered species and habitats, with Rainforest Trust being one of their GiveBack partners. ESC became a supporter of Rainforest Trust in 2016, formalizing their participation in the Conservation Circle — our corporate giving sponsorship program — this year at the Chairman’s level. ESC has given over $500,000 towards Rainforest Trust projects thus far, saving rainforest land greater than the size of Indianapolis.
“We are indebted to Curt and Endangered Species Chocolate not just for their support of our important work, but also for their commitment and leadership in regards to sustainability,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman. “ESC walks the walk in regards to conservation, doing so much to save species at risk and care for our planet.”
The award given to Vander Meer recognizes his conservation leadership at ESC, but also his dedication to environmental sustainability writ large. Vander Meer is a passionate conservationist, and along with his wife Lisa, purchased the naming rights to a Colombian frog during our Species Legacy Auction. The event auctioned off the naming rights to 12 new to science species found in reserves created by Rainforest Trust and our local partners, and earned $182,500 total towards saving these species and their habitat.
“Endangered Species Chocolate has a 25 year history of supporting and generating awareness of conservation efforts. Our brand promise is to give back 10% of our annual net profits to organizations, such as Rainforest Trust, for the protection of species and habitats. I am honored to be receiving this recognition on behalf of the whole Endangered Species Team. Each of our employees are committed to the cause of conservation and making a difference in our world.”