Conservation International and ELLE are coming together to co-host their first joint gala, taking place at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, June 8. The evening, themed “Women On a Mission,” will honor female leaders and organizations whose work protects nature for the benefit of people and unveil the July 2019 issue of ELLE, which is dedicated to women in conservation.
“Women are contributing profound knowledge, perspectives, and leadership to conservation. At Conservation International, we know from experience that direct participation and decision-making by women in conservation results in stronger and more equitable outcomes for communities around the world,” said Jennifer Morris, president of Conservation International. “Women are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and they are powerful agents to halting it. With ELLE, we recognize such efforts and call for women to play central roles in all aspects of managing and safeguarding nature and building a resilient, sustainable future.”
The event takes place as a string of recent scientific reports have revealed the catastrophic changes now taking place due climate change. Just this month, the U.N. warned that one million species are now at risk of extinction due to human activity. An equally dire report, released in October, detailed that humans now have a window of about 10 years to curb carbon emissions to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
According to the U.N., 80 percent of the people displaced by climate change are women. As the “Women on a Mission” event will detail, women are also on the frontlines of finding solutions to this global challenge.
“The partnership between ELLE and Conservation International is about more than just fashion or sustainability—it’s about the wellbeing of women around the world,” said Nina Garcia, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE. “The July issue of ELLE is dedicated to conservation and will include four separate covers honoring icons in the fashion industry who advocate for conservation. We partnered with Conservation International to celebrate and raise awareness of women making a difference in climate change — from marine biologists to supermodels. We have a responsibility to help preserve the world’s natural resources and lift up the individuals who are striving to build a better future for us all.”
The event marks the first in a series of efforts between ELLE and Conservation International. After the evening, the partnership will continue through a variety of initiatives to call attention to climate change and nature.
Conservation International and ELLE are joined by Nike and HP Inc. – two presenting sponsors of this year’s event.
“It’s a critical time to come together as an industry to seriously tackle climate change – with urgency,” said Noel Kinder, NIKE Chief Sustainability Office. “Given the existential threat we face, no one is going to solve the climate crisis on their own and we need to make it a collaborative effort, where together, we can codify the best practices and push on as a collective.”
“HP is honored to support tonight’s gala hosted by Conservation International and ELLE to celebrate women leaders making a positive impact on our planet and communities,” said Karen Kahn, Chief Communications Officer at HP. “To tackle the social and environmental issues of our time, brands must stand for more than the products they sell. When businesses and NGOs come together with a common goal, they empower people and drive systemic change.”
At the gala, ELLE and Conservation International will present the Sustainability Leadership Award to Kering, the global Luxury group whose brands include Gucci and Saint Laurent. The award marks the first joint sustainability award by ELLE and Conservation International. Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer, will accept the award for her leadership within the organization.
“Ms. Daveu has led an ambitious 2025 strategy for sustainability at Kering,” said Nina Garcia, who will present the award. “That strategy includes a 40 percent reduction in its environmental footprint and a 50 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. I’ve heard Ms. Daveu say Kering’s commitment to sustainability is more than a necessity, but a duty. We want to honor that dedication.”
Conservation International will also present the Global Conservation Hero Award to Givaudan, the world’s largest flavor and fragrance manufacturer, based in Switzerland. Emily Bond, Head of Fine Fragrances North America, will accept on behalf of the organization. The prestigious award recognizes the company’s commitment to forest conservation, particularly to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to empower local communities.
Givaudan and Conservation International have partnered for 12 years in the Caura Basin of Venezuela. Through the Conservation Stewards Program, Givaudan helps to preserve almost 366,000 acres of forest while supporting local livelihoods. The company works with indigenous families, such as those in the Aripao community, to curb illegal hunting in exchange for wages to patrol the area, as well as better access to markets for non-timber forest products such as the tonka bean and copaiba oil.
“Twelve years ago, it wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today for a corporation—especially one that’s not always in the public eye—to protect biodiversity and support indigenous populations,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International. “But even back then, Givaudan didn’t just care about what was popular—they cared about what was right. Their foresight to promote community-based solutions has not only protected the region’s natural resources, it has enhanced local communities’ quality of life for more than a decade. We’re delighted to recognize this work, and bring attention to a bigger conversation about products, beauty, and thoughtful ways companies can work with nature.”
Givaudan’s Head of Fine Fragrances North America, Emily Bond, who will accept the award at the gala, said: “We are deeply honoured to accept this award from Conservation International which is testament to the team’s efforts in supporting the local communities in exchange for their help in conserving the forests. This also ensures that we have a constant supply of tonka beans, which is an important and precious ingredient used in crafting exquisite smelling perfumes.”
The evening will also celebrate the work of communities in Indonesia, particularly West Papua. West Papua recently passed historic legislation to name itself the country’s first Conservation Province. This first-of-its-kind legal framework puts sustainable development and conservation—especially for tropical forests and the unique Bird’s Head Seascape—at the forefront of any economic activity or development. Meity Mongdong, Director of Conservation International’s Bird’s Head Seascape Program, will deliver remarks highlighting the work done in Indonesia, and the positive impact it has had on women and communities. She, along with West Papua’s Governor, Dominggus Mandacan, will accept the second Global Conservation Hero Award of the night on behalf of the people of West Papua. The Ambassador from Indonesia, Mahendra Siregar, will also attend and help celebrate West Papua’s people.
As industry leaders tackling some of today’s most pressing environmental and social challenges, both presenting sponsors, NIKE and HP, are deeply connected to the evening’s mission. Nearly 75% of all NIKE products contain some recycled material, an effort that has helped to divert 6.4 billion plastic bottles from landfills since 2010. In addition, Nike has targeted to source 100% renewable energy across its owned and operated global operations by 2025. NIKE’s efforts also include addressing barriers to girls’ participation in sport through new community partnerships and access to products to help girls play with confidence. Through Made to Play, which has helped more than 16.5 million kids get active, NIKE has engaged with more than 80 organizations around the world and supported more than 21,000 community coaches to help kids enjoy play and sport. This past year, NIKE reached nearly 100,000 coaches through Nike-supported programming, with a specific focus on increasing the number of female coaches to help inspire young girls, who have so much potential to move the world.
“NIKE exists to serve athletes and all athletes need fresh air, clean water and safe playing fields to thrive,” said Kinder. “That means sustainability is a critical part of our work. From design to delivery, sustainability is embedded in everything we do at NIKE, Inc.”
Sustainable Impact guides how HP innovates new products, cultivates a diverse and inclusive workplace and operates in the world. The company has been a pioneer in the use of recycled content, working with Planet Partners over the last 27 years to enable customers in over 60 countries to recycle HP ink and toner cartridges for free. Since 2000, HP has used more than 199 million pounds of recycled plastic into 3.9B HP Original ink and toner cartridges, even diverting 716,000 pounds of plastic from reaching the ocean – the equivalent of more than 25 million plastic bottles. Most recently, the company made a $2M investment in a plastic washing line in Haiti which will create more than 1,000 new income opportunities locally. HP has also been recognized as a leader in reinventing the standard for diversity and inclusion, rated one of the best workplaces for women and boasts diversity stats that sit well above the industry averages.