Congress passed major U.S. environmental laws, like the Endangered Species Act, just about 50 years ago, and not surprisingly, that era saw the birth of several environmental nonprofits including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council, just to name two. Now, having grown and thrived through the decades, IFAW is making changes in the hope of attracting the next generation at this critical moment for species and the planet. As the UN Extinction Report that was released on Monday makes clear, educating people who have come of age in the new millennium and inspiring them to take action is crucial to saving animals, people, and the planet going forward.
- At the outset, IFAW took on the problem of seal hunting and in 1983 succeeded in achieving a European ban on whitecoat harp seal products in 1983, thereby saving more than 1 million seal pups. Since then, it has taken on more problems threatening more species in more than 40 countries.
- Today their work spans the globe in places like Kenya and India, as well as the United States. The organization employs new and innovative ways to combat poaching, partners with technology platforms to reduce online wildlife crime, and works with industry to test ropeless fishing technologies that eliminate the threat of whale entanglement in commercial fishing gear.
- And it’s creating networks worldwide to help rescue animals during and after natural disasters.
IFAW’s CEO Azzedine Downes wanted the organization to better connect people to their work, particularly “Millennials and younger generations who respond to action, not just shots of animals in the wild.” So IFAW partnered with Min Lew of Base Design, who “took a critical look at the animal welfare and conservation sectors,” and found that “this generation is looking for fresh thinking, not simply a plea for help. The new branding breaks those entrenched branding codes to show that while IFAW protects animals, IFAW is people, doing the work and creating change.” Together with IFAW, Base conceived of ‘animals and people thriving together’ as the driving brand concept.
Why This Matters: Times change, so should environmental messaging and tactics and the lessons IFAW learned in its process are instructive. We started ODP for many of the same reasons IFAW decided to get a makeover — to connect with young people and to help them take action. IFAW is one of our flagship partners at ODP. We agree with IFAW CEO Azzedine Downes who says “This work takes all of us. By rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing animals, one by one—by protecting their habitats and helping them flourish—we can save other species. And our own.” To borrow a phrase from the good ol’ days “Right On!”