The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), FINCH and founding partner Mars, Incorporated today announced an initiative aimed at transforming the lives of animals across the world by asking advertisers to contribute a percentage of their media spend to conservation and animal welfare projects.
The initiative, a fund called The Lion’s Share, will see partners contribute 0.5 percent of their media spend to the fund for each advertisement they use featuring an animal. Those funds will be used to support animals and their habitats around the world. Mars is the first advertising partner in The Lion’s Share.
“Animals are in 20 percent of all advertisements we see. Yet, they do not always receive the support they deserve. Until now.” said Lion’s Share Special Ambassador Sir David Attenborough.
“The Lion’s Share shows that by making a small difference today, we have an opportunity to make an unprecedented difference tomorrow,” Sir David added.
The Fund, which will be hosted by UNDP, is seeking to raise $100m a year within three years, with the money being invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs to be implemented by United Nations and civil society organizations. Other partners include advertising network BBDO and leading measurement company Nielsen.
“Wildlife and their habitats are in crisis right now. We are losing species at an unprecedented rate, estimated to be 1,000 times the natural extinction rate. The Lion’s Share is an idea that is as innovative as it is simple, and which will make a real impact on the future of animals, their habitats and our planet,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Andrew Clarke, Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at founding partner Mars, said the fund would be a powerful way for business to leave a lasting legacy. He said: “The Lion’s Share is exactly the sort of ambitious initiative we need to take in order to ensure we foster a healthy planet on which everyone – including animals – can thrive. For Mars, it’s another step in living the commitments of our Sustainable in a Generation plan.”
“We’re passionate about wildlife conservation and maintaining the biodiversity absolutely necessary for our planet. And animals need our help closer to home, too. We urge other companies and brands to join us in The Lion’s Share to help build a movement to tackle these critical issues,” Mr. Clarke added.
Rob Galluzzo, founder of FINCH, who initiated the idea with film director Christopher Nelius, said: “Nine out of the 10 most popular animals we see in commercials are actually endangered or threatened and they do not always receive the support they deserve. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. Christopher had this amazing idea to solve this and we at FINCH set out to make it happen. We have partnered with Clemenger BBDO to bring the concept to life.”
The Fund has a joint steering committee that will take decisions on priority programs.
The Lion’s Share will work to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet. Supporting animals and helping to conserve their habitats is key to achieving Goal 14, Life Underwater, and Goal 15, Life on Land.
“It is our responsibility as humans to safeguard all life on our planet,” said actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who kicked off The Lion’s Share fund’s launch in Cannes with an on- stage interview with South Africa’s first mostly female anti-poaching unit, the Black Mambas.
He added: “We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN and world leaders to protect the future and ensure prosperity for all people without preserving natural habitats for all living beings—from wildlife to marine life.”
Collette Ngobeni, of the Black Mambas said: “The Lion’s Share is a very exciting initiative because it has huge potential to help grassroots conservation work just like ours. We are working hard every day to prevent poaching and support some of the world’s most endangered species, and look forward to being backed by The Lion’s Share.”