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