Episode 6: Saving species to protect the planet with Paul Smith and Kirsty Schneeberger.

Published 22 May 2024

To mark International Day for Biological Diversity Kirsty Schneeberger, our Head of Partnerships in Product Development, speaks with Paul Smith – whose passion for plants and commitment to conserving nature have led him to the role of secretary general at Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), a global expert in plant conservation.

Paul's conservation journey spans over three decades, marked by pioneering initiatives and a dedication to preserving our planet's botanical wealth. He has helped establish seed banks all over the world – safeguarding plant diversity and ensuring the preservation of valuable plant species from threats such as climate change.

His leadership at BGCI since 2015 has further solidified his reputation as a driving force in the global conservation community, striving for their vision of a world in which plant diversity is valued, secure, and supports all life.

During this episode Kirsty and Paul delve into Paul's experiences, the profound impact of his work at BGCI, and the role of plant and tree species in protecting the planet. Listen to find out:

    • Why trees are vital for biodiversity, providing essential habitats, food sources, and microclimates for millions of species around the globe.
    • The essential role companies can play in safeguarding tree species for a healthier, more vibrant world and how to do this through the Save A Species Program. 
    • What a seedbank is,why they are so important, and how extreme weather can impact them.

Click here to learn more about the Save A Species program and our work with BGCI.

Podcast Speakers

Paul Smith

Secretary General, BGCI

With a career spanning 25 years in conservation, species recovery, and ecological restoration, Paul serves as Secretary General at BGCI. He is the former Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and during his tenure, seeds from more than 25,000 plant species were conserved. He has helped establish seed banks all over the world, specializing in seed bank design, commissioning of equipment, surveying, inventorying, and mapping.

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Kirsty Schneeberger

Head of Partnerships

Kirsty leads our biodiversity and blue carbon work as part of our newly established Product Development team. Kirsty has prior experience as CEO of a biodiversity foundation, worked for the UN on COP21 in Paris and Rio+20 - leading stakeholder engagement work for the former UK government's Department of Energy and Climate Change, and NGOs including WWF-UK.

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