Swipe Right to Advance Conservation by Taylor Keys

Category Archive: TxWAC

  1. Swipe Right to Advance Conservation

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    On most dating apps, swiping right means you like a person, and swiping left means you’re not interested. Dating apps work as modern matchmakers by using algorithms to make recommendations using criteria such as location, age, and personal preferences.

    As companies operating in Texas seek to be better stewards of the water they use, finding the perfect project match to meet their water targets can be as difficult as finding the perfect date. The Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC), facilitated by Texan by Nature is THE “matchmaker” for conservation and business. 

    TxWAC makes matches using a company or funder’s preferred criteria including goals, metrics, locations, project types, and reporting needs paired against a project’s planned outcomes. Matching partners based on mutual data points yields highly impactful, collaborative relationships. 

    Data-based, quantifiable metrics, clear reporting, and standard best practices set the foundation of all Texan by Nature programs in our mission to advance conservation. This builds the framework and provides insights for our matching methodology.

    As a business or conservation organization, there are A LOT of fish in the sea. Texas boasts a population of over 30 million, a GDP of over 2.5 trillion (8th largest economy in the world!), the headquarters for 55 fortune 500 companies, 10 diverse ecological regions spanning 171.9 million acres (39th-largest country by land area in the world!), 191,000 miles of waterways, over 142 different species of mammals and 600 birds, and a state that is 95% privately owned.

    Texan by Nature acts as a trusted broker to help our partners navigate all of this potential. Our approach is clear: Connect. Convene. Catalyze. TxN connects the brightest minds to the strongest resources. We convene our Business Members and our 155+ Conservation Partners to forge valuable relationships that catalyze the most exciting conservation projects benefiting natural resources, people, and prosperity.

    Right now, sustainability and conservation are more important than ever for business. According to the World Economic Forum (2022): 

    • 90% of executives believe sustainability is important, but only 60% of organizations have sustainability strategies.
    • Embedding sustainability in strategy is essential to meet evolving investor pressure, consumer demand, and regulatory requirements.
    • Sustainability has also been proven to attract top talent, reduce costs, and boost profits.

    Through the Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC) we match funders to projects that have quantifiable water benefits and the proof of this being successful, is in the pudding! Since the launch of TxWAC in 2021, we’ve facilitated over $3.8 million, including over $1.5 million in 2023 alone.

    “TxWAC has been a key partner as we work on our volumetric water goals. By connecting nonprofits with funding partners, TxWAC enables a stronger collaboration culture across Texas organizations that results in bigger and better projects.” said Abrahma Tueme, Director of Sustainability – Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.

    What if one project has a lot of potential suitors? We can work with that!

    TxWAC builds collaborative relationships to align goals, metrics, and project/funding timelines between conservation organizations, corporate entities, and communities – all working together to accelerate investments that benefit one of Texas’ most precious natural resources – WATER.

    As a result of TxWAC, in 2023, the Texas Longleaf Team received $972,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation, Silk (a Danone North America brand), Google, Meta, and Microsoft to restore 2,000 acres of longleaf pine forest on private lands in Trinity County, Texas. 

    Sometimes, becoming the perfect match means sprucing up your “dating profile”. For Texan by Nature this means:

    • Alignment of project and funder goals
    • Clear impact/benefits metrics, including a monitoring plan to collect baseline, during, and post-implementation data for reporting
    • Comprehensive budget/plan
    • Collaborative partnerships
    • Collaborative funding
    • Effective, powerful storytelling

    This successful match will have a fruitful future. TLT, in partnership with Raven Environmental Services, will work over a 5-10 year period to remove invasive plants, conduct prescribed burns, and plant ~100,000 longleaf pine seedlings. Through the restoration of 2,000 acres of longleaf pine, this project is projected to provide increased water filtration, totaling 200 million gallons per year for 8-12 years. These ecosystem services will benefit the surrounding community in East Texas. Learn more about this project. 

    There are over 50 eligible projects looking for their perfect funder match through TxWAC – learn more about project matching services here

    For projects like The Nature Conservancy’s Trinity Basin On-Farm Conservation Pilot, we have one match and are working to find another to fully fund the project. This project works with landowners to implement on-farm conservation practices. This includes direct agreements with producers for cover-cropping and conservation tillage practices, as well as direct lease agreements with irrigators to leave water in-stream when it’s needed most. 

    Are you on the hunt for your perfect match and don’t know where to start?

    Whether you are a funder or a conservation organization, we are here to help you! Explore our programs and get involved:

  2. TxWAC – Past, Present, and Future

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    What started as a group of cross-industry stakeholders identifying a need for corporate funding for water conservation projects has resulted in more than $3.3 M in funding for on-the-ground conservation efforts to date. 

    How did we get here?

    ACTION – specifically, the Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC). 

    At the end of 2020, our Dallas-Fort Worth partners asked Texan by Nature to join a small group of stakeholders and think about what a collaborative water effort might look like. Due to our unique mission of advancing conservation through connecting conservation and business, they hoped we could develop a new model for water conservation in Texas After research and discussion, we proposed a model matching on the ground conservation efforts to corporate goals with Texan by Nature acting as developer and facilitator of the Collaborative.

    Texan by Nature piloted TxWAC in March of 2021 in the Upper Trinity River Basin, with the support of a planning team comprised of leaders from Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, LimnoTech, Molson Coors, North Texas Municipal Water District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tarrant Regional Water District, Texas A&M AgriLife & Texas Water Resources Institute, Trinity River Authority, and Texas Water Foundation.

    Through all of our programs, we act as an honest broker and trusted hub to bring partners together to advance conservation activity and action. We build upon the already impressive efforts that make Texas a leader in natural resource conservation – connecting the brightest minds and projects with the strongest resources and funding to make the biggest impact for Texans, our economy, and our natural world.

    TxWAC embodies these efforts – we cultivate water conservation projects from our  Conservation Partner Network of 145+ organizations to create a portfolio of funding opportunities that allow businesses to identify which projects align with their sustainability and water stewardship goals. This helps corporate partners reach their goals while increasing funding and activity towards Texas water conservation.

    Texan by Nature expanded TxWAC to the lower Trinity River with support from Hess Corporation in March of 2022. The 18-month pilot resulted in over $2 million in funding for local conservation projects benefiting water quality and quantity. Based on the success of the Trinity River pilot, TxWAC expanded to the entire state of Texas in early 2023. To date, over $3.3 million in funding has resulted from the customized project-matching services provided through TxWAC. 

    Most recently, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Silk (a Danone North America brand), Google, Meta, and Microsoft came together to collaboratively invest $972,000 to restore 2,000 acres of longleaf pine forest on private lands in Trinity County, Texas. Coordinated by the Texas Longleaf Team, with support from Texan by Nature, the restoration will entail managing and removing invasive plants, conducting prescribed fire, and planting approximately 100,000 Longleaf Pine seedlings over the course of five to ten years to create a healthy Longleaf Pine ecosystem that will filter and store freshwater, sequester carbon, support biodiversity, and benefit the community. Read the full press release

    Why we need project matching collaboratives

    Through our facilitation of TxWAC, we continue to see barriers between conservation and business. On the conservation side, key environmental and social benefits of projects are often not measured or monitored. This lack of data can make it difficult for funders to make the business case for the investment. On the business side, most companies state that achieving many of their environmental and social goals will require external expertise and partnerships. This is why matching business goals to conservation projects builds mutually beneficial relationships that we all benefit from. 

    Projects submitted through TxWAC are carefully evaluated to address gaps in information and data needed to make a strong business case for funders. Whether it’s water quality and quantity, carbon capture or sequestration, air quality, or a myriad of other benefits, projects must articulate the long-term, bottom-line benefits for both business and natural resources. TxWAC works to provide partners and methodologies to address these gaps. 

    Additionally, we work to drive dialogue around these barriers during our bi-monthly TxWAC meetings. In our August 2023 meeting, Emilio Tenuta, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Ecolab, and Wendy Larson, Senior Principal of Water Sustainability at LimnoTech joined us to share their insights when it comes to what project attributes companies are looking for when they are evaluating investment opportunities. 

    7/25/23 TxWAC Meeting Recording from Texan by Nature on Vimeo.

    Where are we headed?

    Texas’ landscape and conservation opportunities are varied, unique, and often massive in scale. Boasting the 9th largest economy in the world, the same can be said for Texas’ industry leadership in energy, food, tech, agriculture, and manufacturing. These areas of leadership offer a significant opportunity to build a model which pairs local conservation with global Environmental Social Governance (ESG) strategy.

    In addition to project matching through TxWAC, we are currently scratching the surface of how we can utilize the network we’ve built to develop and pair transformational water projects that address our state’s most critical needs like workforce and water supply, with private-sector funding. 

    Our vision is for every business, every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

    Building on our success and lessons learned from facilitating TxWAC, we are excited to launch the Texas Collaborative Conservation Network (TCCN) – now piloting in the Hill Country. In addition to water benefits which is the primary focus of TxWAC, TCCN is a model which provides funding and support for local conservation efforts that return measurable benefits in carbon, water, biodiversity, social good, and economic growth. The goal of building this conservation network is to match corporate funding and strategy to local opportunities.

    We invite you to join us in advancing conservation! Get involved through the Texas Water Action Collaborative or the Texas Collaborative Conservation Network (or both!) Get in on the ACTION by contacting our team at programs@texanbynature.org – no matter where your interest lies, we have or will create the right avenue for you.

  3. Meta Invests in Texas Water Action Collaborative Statewide Expansion

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2023
    Karina Araujo
    Texan by Nature

    Meta Invests in Texas Water Action Collaborative Statewide Expansion
    The collaborative matches companies and funders to water conservation projects

    Austin, Texas: World Water Day 2023, Texan by Nature (TxN) announced today an investment by Meta for the statewide expansion of the Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC). This milestone is a major move for TxWAC in its mission to benefit water quality and volume in Texas. Meta’s investment is foundational in bringing funding and partners to conservation projects statewide that benefit water volume, quality, air quality, and biodiversity.

     “Collaboration, engaging with experts, and supporting established initiatives in the climate space is a pillar of our sustainability strategy,” says Stefanie Woodward, Sustainability Program Manager at Meta. “We’re excited to extend TxWAC’s mission to the rest of Texas to play a role in shaping the way partnerships take place to benefit communities and natural resources ”

    Meta has a goal to restore more water than it consumes by 2030. They invest in water restoration projects that help replenish watersheds near locations where they operate.

     Texas’ population of 30 million is expected to double by 2050, adding pressure to state water resources. The Texas State Water Plan identifies that nearly 45% of future water resources will need to come from water conservation and reuse. Collaborative action in water conservation is more important than ever.

    Meta’s investment catalyzes TxWAC’s mission adding to recent accomplishments including

    • Expansion to the Lower Trinity River in 2022 with an investment by Hess Corporation
    • Over $2 million in new water conservation investments activated since 2021
    • 400+ volunteers for a Keep Irving Beautiful cleanup event funded by Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages 

     “We’re proud to see TxWAC become the hub for accelerating investments and impact through collaborative partnerships between nonprofit, corporate, and community stakeholders,” says Joni Carswell, President and CEO at Texan by Nature. “Meta’s leadership in the expansion of TxWAC will multiply these partnerships, elevating new projects to positively impact communities across Texas.”

     Additional support of the Texas Water Action Collaborative is provided by Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Hess Corporation, Arca-Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, Texas Well Spring Fund, Molson Coors Beverage Company, and Tarrant Regional Water District.

    To learn more about TxWAC, click here.


    About Texan by Nature:
    Texan by Nature (TxN) unites conservation and business leaders who believe Texas’ prosperity is dependent on the conservation of its natural resources. TxN, founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, acts as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. TxN supports 110+ conservation organizations and has accelerated projects and programs that have impacted 7 million-plus people, 20 million acres, and all of Texas’ 254 counties Get involved and learn more at www.texanbynature.org and follow us on Facebook @TexanbyNature, Twitter @TexanbyNature, and Instagram @texanbynature for the latest.
    About Meta:
    Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.