Image-of-
Wildlife Conservation Partnering to Protect: The Lion's Share Fund

As the world’s biggest veterinary health group and the maker of many pet foods, we know how much animals — both big and small — are loved across the world.

As you’ve no doubt seen on television commercials or in magazines, animals star in nearly 20% of all ads. Unfortunately, a full 90% of the most popular animals that appear in ads are either endangered or on their way there. Majestic creatures like rhinos, tigers and snow leopards are threatened by climate change, illegal trafficking and shrinking habitats, and these issues require serious efforts to counteract. 

 

lions share.gif


As many as 10,000 species a year become extinct due to human activity — around 1,000 times the natural rate. So our ambition is to use our creativity to help save the animal kingdom, a critical part of our planet’s biodiversity.

Our love of animals drove us to come up with a creative solution that makes a powerful difference. We announced the Lion’s Share in June 2018, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Along with the United Nations Development Programme and FINCH production company, we are leading the charge to improve wildlife conservation. 

When we asked advertisers to direct some of the money spent on ads that feature animals to protect them as well, seven of world’s biggest companies and more than 50 brands answered our call of the wild. We are uniting to create global change, but there’s still so much more to do, this year at Cannes and beyond.

While we celebrate innovation and creativity at the 2019 festival, we also want to continue to raise awareness for endangered animals. That’s because the stark reality is that a quarter of Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners between 2008 and 2019 feature endangered or vulnerable animals, yet we live in a world where only 20,000 African lions remain in the wild; their population declined 43% in just two decades. This year our call of the wild is to challenge winners who capture a coveted Lion at Cannes to dedicate it to the Lion’s Share Fund. We ask the best and the brightest creative minds to post a photo with their trophy using #LionforLions to show their support. 

Here are four important projects The Lion’s Share has been able to fund over the past year:
•    Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique: We’ve digitized all ranger communication technology to help stop elephant poaching. 
•    Leuser Ecosystem, Sumatra: Purchased 260,000 hectares of rainforest to protect the last remaining Sumatran tigers, rhinos and orangutans. 
•    Pantanal Forest, South America: To safeguard jaguars, we’re working with 13 countries to develop a sustainable economy that is not based on jaguar trade. 
•    The Coral Triangle, West Pacific Ocean: We’re restoring 5.7 million square kilometers of coral reef, home to over 2,000 species of fish. 

We want more companies to join us for our conservation of not only nature, wildlife and the planet, but also of hope. And we need help.

"Wildlife and their habitats are in crisis right now. We’re losing species at an unprecedented rate, estimated to be 1,000 times the natural extinction rate.” — Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator  
 
How Does Lion’s Share Work?   
In terms of a narrator, you can’t do much better than Sir David Attenborough (of the “Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet” series), so we’ll let him explain:  
 

As he mentioned, for each ad featuring animals, the Lion’s Share calls for companies to send 0.5% of their media spend to a fund dedicated to supporting the UNDP’s work protecting animal habitats. Our goal? Raise $100 million a year by 2021 to help protect endangered animals for future generations.

For the UNDP, this effort supports its broader Sustainable Development Goals, which include preserving Life On Land through protecting crucial animal habitats.

For Mars, this effort falls right in line with our Sustainable in a Generation Plan as well.    

“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." — Andrew Clarke, President of Mars Confectionery   
 
Getting Involved 
If you share our passion for wildlife conservation, there are plenty of ways you can get involved with the Lion’s Share. Spread the word to your friends and family — sharing Sir Attenborough’s words is a great place to start.

You can also help us urge other companies to get involved — 0.5% of an advertising budget may not seem like much, but when major companies join, it will amount to millions of dollars and set us well on our way to reaching $100 million each year. 

Lastly, when more companies and brands join the program, you can keep them in mind as you shop, knowing that they’re spending money not only to promote the products, but also to protect wildlife.

More from Mars