SOS - Save Our Species conservation fund: a sponsorship opportunity for businesses

Wildlife generates interest and arouses our passion which is demonstrated by the huge popularity of zoos or botanical gardens visited worldwide. Species have the power to communicate; their conservation is portrayed through wonderful photos, amazing stories and dedicated, driven individuals working with local communities. Wild animals, plants and fungi are excellent indicators of environmental change, contribute significantly to ecosystem services. Conserving species also helps to tackle complex environmental problems. Species are also of great value to companies which depend on their use for business or for promotion and for brand logos. What is the gain for species from their extensively valuable and free contribution to the world economy?

While biodiversity loss remains a key challenge for human kind, overall businesses CSR reports show significant engagement in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions, water consumption or recycling but, less visible and measurable commitments when it comes to biodiversity. One reason may be that not all businesses depend directly on biodiversity while all use energy, water or paper. The difficulty may also be related to the fact that it is not easy to tackle an issue as complex and multi-faceted than biodiversity conservation in isolation; it could also be that the world of conservation, with a large number of actors working independently in all parts of the world, is rather complex to engage easily with.

To respond to this challenge, IUCN, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank supported by Nokia and the Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM) have joined forces to make the task easier for businesses who would like to engage in wildlife conservation.. To do so they have built onthe attractive power of wild creatures well known by all sectors of society and created SOS – Save Our Species. This is a unique partnership, mobilizing the unique knowledge, expertise and networks of the most knowledgeable organizations in order to conserve the most visible part of biodiversity and, indirectly, its neglected component, to maximize impact and reverse the current trend. This is a concrete response to the call for action endorsed by all governments in Nagoya, specifically Aichi targets 12 and 20, and it is open to businesses who can put their resources and skilfullness to bear.

SOS objective is to ensure the long-term survival of threatened animal and plant species and their habitats as well as human communities depending on them. SOS offers unmatched species expertise and makes grants to the conservation community throughout the world where and when it will have the most impact.

The objective of the event is to better align SOS with business expectations in order to achieve more for the conservation of biodiversity.

This Pavilion session is intended to be largely interactive. A short overview of SOS will be provided. Then, a panel of senior representatives of SOS partners and leading conservation organizations will explain the reason for their engagement, the benefits they get and why it is so urgent to expand the partnership and scaling up our efforts; they will also debate how companies can leverage SOS as an umbrella initiative for environmental and social sustainability as well as corporate / brand communication. Feedback on the initiative will be solicited from the audience, in particular from the private sector representatives, and on how SOS may or may not match their expectations.

Panel participants include:
• Rachel Kyte (Vice President for Sustainability, World Bank)
• Julia Marton-Lefèvre (Director General, IUCN)
• Gustavo Fonseca (Head Natural Resources Division, Global Environment Facility)
• Noora Paronen (Sustainability, Nokia)
• John Robinson (Executive Vice President for Conservation & Science, Wildlife Conservation Society)
• Joel Sartore (National Geographic)
• Jean-Christophe Vié (SOS Director & Deputy Director Global Species programme, IUCN)

Geographical scope:

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