National Environment Month – why business should be involved in conservation efforts

#GyprocLovesRhinosIn an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, private business owners are fulfilling ethical and moral obligations to protect the environment, by building conservation efforts into their own corporate strategy. In light of June’s National Environmental Month and the recent World Environment Day, Saint-Gobain Sub-Saharan Africa General Delegate and CEO, David Anderson, shares his thoughts on why he believes private businesses should get involved in local conservation.

Saint-Gobain Gyproc has recently finalised a three-year, three million rand sponsorship of SANParks Honorary Rangers, specifically directed towards its rhino anti-poaching efforts. The company knows that businesses can have a significant impact on the ecosystem and those who depend upon it and sought an opportunity to make a real difference. The valiant efforts of the SANParks Honorary Rangers and its work to protect South Africa’s rhino made Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s decision to support rhino conservation an obvious one.

For decades, World Environment Day, which took place last month, has encouraged worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. As private businesses increasingly understand that investments in conservation can help to create opportunities, mitigate risk and protect business assets, environmentally friendly sponsorship opportunities are becoming a marketing imperative.

Saint-Gobain Gyproc sees an opportunity to align its long-standing Rhinoboard and Rhinolite brands to the protection of the rhino itself because the strength of these products encompasses everything the business stands for. For many years now, the plight of the rhino has been a constant news item, particularly in South Africa, but a significant and ongoing challenge is insufficient assistance from the government in combating the threat to an iconic Africa species. Field rangers, who donate their time to help combat poaching, are in desperate need of skills development, legal backing, combat preparation and equipment. While last month’s budget allocation towards anti-rhino poaching efforts by the Department of Environmental Affairs is most welcome, it covers the costs of human capital only. The reality is that the fight to protect the species requires far more than that.

Organisations like SANParks Honorary Rangers rely heavily on private partnerships to make up the shortfall and fundraising for them is an on-going priority. It requires a massive effort by organisations and authorities alike who are committed to rebalancing the population against the threat of poaching. The scale of the challenge of protecting South Africa’s rhinos is clear and the rise in poaching in recent years is compromising conservation gains made over decades.

“While rhino conservation and poaching is a complex issue, we don’t believe that businesses can ever separate themselves from the environment. Around the globe, companies like ours have a significant impact on the environment but buzzwords like green and sustainability should be more than just a factor of our supply chain or production line. It goes deeper than that and what better way to communicate the conservation message than to incorporate it into our product sales, educating our consumers on this very real need for change for something that has been core to South African wildlife for so long.”

In addition to the initial three-year, three million rand sponsorship, a percentage of the income from Gyproc Rhino branded products will add to the current funding. To find out more about how Saint-Gobain Gyproc is supporting the SAN Parks Honorary Rangers, visit their Facebook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #GyprocLovesRhinos.

For more information about SANParks Honorary Rangers contact: Chris van Gass | SANParks Honorary Rangers Communication | 082 774 5008

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