The World Land Trust claims it is the voluntary actions of individuals and forward thinking companies that are leading the way in the fight against climate change as it reports a 121% rise in donations post Copenhagen: an indication of a consumer trend being dubbed as, ‘armchair activism’.
World Land Trust has been engaged in addressing climate change through mitigation and adaptation for over 20 years, well before the Kyoto Protocol. WLT always emphasised the value of voluntary actions by individuals and forward-thinking business acting at whatever level they could, to support practical actions in the field, pioneering techniques and testing approaches to prepare the ground for the political process that must eventually follow.
There is no question that the Copenhagen outcome was disappointing. However the World Land Trust website has experienced a 121% surge in individual donations post Copenhagen and both long term and new corporate supporters are also pledging substantial funding for 2010.
Consumers are increasingly beginning to realise that the responsibility for saving the environment cannot be left in the hands of the politicians. As a result we are seeing a new form of environmentalism emerge, with people asking not "what’s to be done?" but rather "what can I do?" This, combined with the growing access to PCs and the internet, has seen the rise of ‘armchair activism’ with organisations seeking to engage and empower consumers or employees with easy ways to make single meaningful acts.
To examine the World Land Trust project by project it becomes evident that corporate supporters are sustaining the direct action being taken in the field and there is no better example of this than the Misiones project in Argentina. Stella Artois, PricewaterhouseCoopers and European textile company, Eurojersey are proactively working on their own individual initiatives with WLT and for 2010 have pledged funds to protect the critically endangered Atlantic Rainforest of Misiones. Amere 7% of the Atlantic Rainforest remains in tact and 20% of this stands in Misiones alone so with urgent action needed the World Land Trust is supported by visionary companies rather than slow acting politicians.
Stella Artois Christmas campaign, ‘send a card, save a tree’ offered consumers the chance to save a tree in the Argentinean Misiones rainforest, simply by sending one Christmas e-card to a friend or family member. This resulted in Stella Artois saving one million trees in the region which demonstrates the power of ‘armchair activism‘ considering the campaign only ran for twenty days during the festive season.
In a separate initiative Eurojersey, who produce patented warp knit fabrics to major lingerie and swimwear brands such as Triumph, Victoria’s Secret, and La Perla has generously pledged to save at least one metre of critically endangered Atlantic Rainforest for every metre of fabric sold, with the claim, "One Metre of Fabric for One Metre of Forest". Ultimately this will attract consumers who are becoming increasingly aware of the impact their choices have on the environment and Eurojersey customers have been quick to show support. Brands ranging from John Lewis to Speedo are now choosing Sensitive®fabric which has led Eurojersey to pledge funding to save 2,125 acres.
PricewaterhouseCoopers have also supported the World Land Trust since 2008 and have protected over 2,000 acres of forest in Ecuador through an innovative employee reward scheme which incentivises the reduced use of air travel related to work. Through the scheme the firm has supported the World Land Trust in developing two of their landmark forest carbon projects in South America and in 2010 PwC has pledged to sponsor the World Land Trusts, Atlantic Rainforest exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show.
The ingenuity of each company’s individual initiatives has empowered the World Land Trust to take immediate action which has not gone unnoticed by Snr. Maurice Closs the Governor of Misiones Province: "I would like to thank Stella, Eurojersey and PwC for developing such an innovative and exciting approach to tackling a very real problem. I believe there has to be a shared effort amongst governments, citizens, conservationists and industry if we are to save the Atlantic Rainforest."
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