Com­pa­nies us­ing an­i­mals in their ad­verts are be­ing en­cour­aged to com­mit fund­ing.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents -

The ini­tia­tive that hopes big com­pa­nies will pay if their ad­verts fea­ture an­i­mals

Wildlife con­ser­va­tion projects could re­ceive $100m (£76m) a year from com­pa­nies that use an­i­mals in their ad­verts if a new scheme an­nounced in July achieves its aims. The Lion’s Share ini­tia­tive was launched by the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP), with Mars as a found­ing part­ner. They are call­ing on all com­pa­nies that use wildlife or pets to pro­mote their prod­ucts to con­trib­ute 0.5 per cent of that spend to a con­ser­va­tion fund.

The scheme has re­ceived the back­ing of David At­ten­bor­ough ( right). “An­i­mals are in 20 per cent of all ad­ver­tise­ments, yet they do not al­ways re­ceive the sup­port they de­serve,” he says.

Boaz Paldi, who leads on The Lion’s Share for the UNDP, says the world’s com­pa­nies spend $591bn on ad­ver­tis­ing ev­ery year, and ask­ing them to con­trib­ute 0.5 per cent of all me­dia spend that in­volves an­i­mals would raise $600m a year.

By way of con­trast, WWF spends $270m a year on its pro­grammes world­wide, while a re­port pub­lished in 2012 es­ti­mated the to­tal cost of pro­tect­ing the planet’s threat­ened species and their habi­tats at $76bn a year.

“We’vee been us­ing an­i­mals in ads foor 150 years, and manny of these are en­dan­geered. It’s time to take re­sp­pon­si­bil­ity for this,” sayys Paldi.

He­len Mills, of Mars Pettcare, says the com­pa­nyy got in­volved be­cause “an­i­mals are a fun­da­men­tal part of world cul­ture” and “it was a cause we are pas­sion­ate about”.

Last year, Mars was one of three con­fec­tionary com­pa­nies ac­cused of break­ing pledges to stop us­ing un­sus­tain­able palm oil, but Mills de­nies its in­volve­ment with The Lion’s Share amounts to ‘green­wash­ing’. She says, “If you look at ouour re­gen­er­a­tion plan, we gave a re­sponse in n an up­date in Jan­uary”. The amoun nt Mars will be con­tribut­ing is com­merc cially con­fi­den­tial.

There wi­ill be fur­ther news about The Lion’s Share in Septem­ber, when UNDP will l an­nounce other com­pa­nies

that hav ve pledged fund­ing. JF

Mars has used a gi­raffe in an ad­vert for Skit­tles ( pictured), a bear in one for M&Ms and moun­tain lions in one for Whiskas.

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