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VWSA CEO Thomas Schaefer joins Wilderness Foundation in Vietnam

Volkswagen Group South Africa have been a staunch supporter of Wilderness Foundation Africa since June 2011, with an initial sponsorship of six Volkswagen Amarok bakkies to the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative.

Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group SA Chairman and MD and Thanh Bui, popstar and owner of SOUL Corporation
Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group SA Chairman and MD and Thanh Bui, popstar and owner of SOUL Corporation

The formal relationship between these two organisations has surpassed all expectations over a lengthy period of time and extended to two of the key focus areas of this internationally recognized conservation organization, i.e. the protection of endangered species and the Youth Development Programme, which focuses on equipping vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens.


However, the relationship between WFA and VWSA started in the 1980’s when the late Dr Ian Player and Peter Searle, the then CEO of Volkswagen South Africa, went on a wilderness trail in the iMfolozi Game Reserve.  The concept of wilderness trails was introduced by Ian Player as a means of introducing people from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life to the life changing process brought about by walking through the wilderness on foot and experiencing the wonder of nature at first hand.

In a further commitment to the conservation efforts of Wilderness Foundation Africa, the Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director, Thomas Schaefer, this week joins the WFA team in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to introduce them to key role players in the motor vehicle and corporate industry, in order to further develop the highly successful Demand Reduction campaign to the corporate world.

“Conservation NGO’s such as Wilderness Foundation Africa would not be able to continue the work that we do on a local, national and global scale without the support of corporates such as Volkswagen South Africa”, says Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa.  “This partnership has exceeded the general NGO/Funder relationship, and we are grateful to the team at VWSA for their continued and loyal support of our various conservation initiatives”.

Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director says: “I am delighted that apart from our companies material support through the sponsorships of the Amaroks, I am able to contribute personally through though the contacts I have in that region due to having previously worked with many parties in a previous role”



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Tristan Wiggill
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