Conscious conservation: Ibiza Preservation Foundation

Like most good ideas, the Ibiza Preservation Foundation (IPF) was conceived by a group of friends around a dinner table in 2008. The founding ethos of the organisation is to create and support local initiatives that promote the preservation of Ibiza and Formentera’s ecology and find sustainable solutions to both islands’ environmental challenges. Over the last decade, IPF has established or reinforced more than 40 projects, one of which is the
 Our Dolphins initiative, in which 7Pines Resort Ibiza is a partner.

Ibiza Preservation Foundation Executive Director Sandra Benbeniste is bright, personable and committed – her optimism is contagious. Within her varied role at IPF, she often finds herself as a matchmaker of sorts. “There are many passionate people with great ideas,” she explains. “Separately, we are small but when we come together, we have more power, resources and energy. Collaborations can be complex, but they ultimately allow us to get more done.” IPF has consolidated partnerships with other environmental organisations such as Alianza Mar Blava, Alianza por el Agua and Plastic Free Ibiza to name a few. “I believe that ownership of our successes should be collective,” Sandra says.

“Separately, we are small but when we come together, we have more power, resources and energy."

Tourism is the lifeblood of the island and the influx of people every summer puts enormous pressure on the environment. Sandra sees working within the tourism industry as the answer to many of the island’s problems. “The tourism-based economy can evolve and co-exist with Ibiza’s cultural and environmental heritage,” she says. “More and more companies are interested in forming alliances with us. They look to us for direction on how they can change their practices.” Sandra’s unstoppable energy and forward-thinking nature have already opened doors to some of the island’s most iconic brands.

In the name of efficiency, IPF currently has four key projects – Ibiza Produce, Posidonia Protection, Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera and the research platform Sustainability Observatory – along with seven other ongoing projects, not to mention a long list of completed programs. Perhaps one of the most time sensitive of the projects is Plastic Free Ibiza, which aims to phase out single-use plastics by 2023 through collaborations, education, legislation and practical support for local businesses and communities. In just one summer season, the initiative has seen more than 150 businesses become involved. There’s still a long way to go but Sandra sees a real movement towards more sustainable practices, noticing that businesses becoming more and more proactive with each new season.

"the tourism-based economy can evolve and co-exist with ibiza's cultural and environmental heritage."

Promoting sustainable agriculture, local produce and native species is another area where Ibiza Preservation Foundation is playing a role. Almond crops used to be a sign of great wealth in Ibiza but as tourism began to replace agriculture as the main source of income in recent decades, many farms and orchards were abandoned. Over the years, this transition has changed the landscape of Ibiza and allowed the rapidly reproducing pine tree to overwhelm other species. In 2016, IPF formed a partnership with the Associació de Productors d’ Agricultura Ecològica d’ Eivissa i Formentera (APAEEF) to support a young farmer near Santa Agnes in creating a pilot program to regenerate the almond industry [pictured here]. Sandra notes that while the older generation of farmers left to make their fortune with tourism, followed by many of their children, their grandchildren are starting to return to the land with a better understanding of the importance of conservation, and looking for a different kind of life.

Currently, there are approximately 800 almond trees in what Sandra calls the Almond Laboratory. “With the pilot program we can test different strains of tree, soil composition, and composting to find the optimal conditions for the tree,” she explains. “Then we will be able to show other farmers that almonds can be financially rewarding while also conserving the traditional landscape.” As a bonus, the project helps control the highly combustible pine and creates natural firebreaks across farmland.

Ibiza Preservation Foundation’s focus on agriculture was a gateway to understanding the need to build a platform for home-grown food. Ibiza Produce was created to help local producers access more markets, connect chefs with farms so they can buy directly, educate customers on where they can purchase authentic local produce, support new farmers and encourage schools and hospitals to buy local. Helping local growers to access a wider community allows the high quality of Ibiza’s produce to shine while also supporting the regeneration of native species and the preservation of seeds.

Promoting sustainable agriculture, local produce and native species is another area where Ibiza Preservation Foundation is playing a role, in particular with Almond crops.

Sandra and her team have big plans beyond the current projects and have already started to formulate ideas to garner support from local councils for issues such as micro-plastic pollution in the Med, replenishing the island’s aquifers and conserving water. “I tend to look at the positives,” she says. “We make partnerships to find solutions that offer easy, practical and constructive steps, making it less daunting for municipalities, businesses and individuals to start making changes.” This year saw the inaugural Marine Forum of Ibiza and Formentera, which will become an annual reference point for the islands’ marine issues. International, national and local experts will convene over two days to develop marine conservation projects and create many fruitful partnerships.

When 7Pines Resort Ibiza was established, our management included conservation into the mandate from the very start. We see partnering with Ibiza Preservation Foundation as a great honour – not only providing the hotel’s guests and staff an opportunity to discover the island’s vast ecological heritage but also giving all of us a deeper connection to this beautiful place. We look forward to continued involvement with this extraordinary organisation.

Stop by our guest relations desk to find out more about 7Pines Resort Ibiza’s collaboration with IPF’s
Our Dolphins project and learn more about how you can help contribute to conserving the island’s natural environment.

"WE SEE PArtnering with ibiza preservation foundation as a great honour."

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