Photo credit: Regeneration Projects at the Yarra Riverkeeper corporate planting day, May 2022 (Matt Sykes second from left, colleague Lauren Cowie at far right)
Photo credit: Regeneration Projects at the Yarra Riverkeeper corporate planting day, May 2022 (Matt Sykes second from left, colleague Lauren Cowie at far right)

Recently partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme, Regeneration Projects is becoming a globally recognised organisation for their work in supporting connections between Business, Ecosystems and First Nations People.

After declaring a Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, the UN is rallying individuals, communities, businesses and entire countries to take part in the protection and revival of the ecosystems upon which they depend.

Regeneration Projects was initially noticed by the UN Environment Programme for their early adoption and ongoing use of the #GenerationRestoration hashtag on their social media campaigns.

Chief Regen Officer and Founder of Regeneration Projects, Matt Sykes said the application process involved speaking about the alignment of their work and how their products and services can assist in reviving ecosystems. “Our work empowers leaders to close a circle of lost connection between business and nature, focusing on the concept of giving back more than we take,” says Matt.“We do this in all kinds of ways, such as working with leaders in business consultancies and local governments to build their team’s ecological literacy and connection to place. We are also supporting entrepreneurs who are starting wellness tourism developments by helping them to create regeneration action plans. These practices often start with healing local waterways, revegetating lands using indigenous plants and partnering with local First Nations People.”

Not only does the ecological restoration of once neglected environments become a backdrop for their business, these rural and urban ecosystems can become civic sanctuaries that provide services like wildlife habitat, mental health promotion and climate resilience.

Realising the systemic lack of connection between businesses and their local ecosystems, Regeneration Projects is currently working at the highest global level in policy advocacy to heal this crucial relationship.

“We facilitate the Ranger Roundtable for the international Ranger sector, fostering communication and collaboration between these essential frontline workers and global development, health and conservation organisations; such as the World Bank, the UN Development Programme and International Union for Conservation of Nature,” says Matt.

Despite gaining traction as a leading consultancy in Naarm Melbourne, Regeneration Projects' grass-roots visions and goals for connecting local businesses with their backyards have stayed solid.

“If Melbourne can start growing a business culture of giving back to the Birrarung, we’re going to witness incredible waves of ecosystem restoration and community health. That becomes a foundation for a bigger vision that myself and leaders in many other organisations like Yarra Pools, Yarra Riverkeeper Association, Swinburne University of Technology and Regen Melbourne share; a swimmable Birrarung Yarra River by 2030,” says Matt.

As an example, the consultancy recently supported the Yarra Riverkeeper Association, a grassroots organisation to kickstart their business partnerships program. Facilitating the exchange of in-kind and financial investment is key to increasing the group’s mass litter clean ups, revegetation planting days, citizen science and community advocacy.

“As individuals, we have an innate daily relationship with our terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments, this connection also needs to be reciprocated through the way we do business.As First Nations Elders teach us, when we care for Country and ecosystems, they care for us,” says Matt.

Text by: Jaari Heyes