As the saying goes, good things happen in three. With the recent expansion into the USA and China mainly via zoos and aquaria; a new logo and the launch of its African Wildlife collection, these are exciting times for SOS partner, Coqenpâte (CEP) editions.
Following a successful career in international development working in Madagascar and Africa David Bouvet decided to establish CEP in his hometown of Saint Malo in Brittany, France. Here David explains how nature inspires his life’s work and his vision for how business can help save our species.
Why did you start out in business?
With Coqenpâte, I am trying to show that it is possible to consume responsibly and do so by choosing high quality well-designed products. Coqenpâte is a children’s accessories and fashion brand, which places ethics in the heart of all creative processes and is engaged socially and environmentally. I believe that our daily habits as consumers can be either a solution or a threat to the world. We wish to show that it is possible to create, produce and sell whilst respecting humans and their environment. So our products are manufactured in India out of organic cotton in certified factories, while stationery and beach kits are mainly made in France using ecological materials.
To my mind, you should be proud of what you offer to your child. In helping to promote environmental education for kids through fun and exciting ways including products, we hope these future adults will respect nature when they grow up. Kids of all ages love nature and we want to celebrate that with CEP.
What inspires you about nature/wildlife in your personal and in your business activities?
In our business, the essence of Coqenpâte is really motivated by wildlife preservation it gives all of us energy and motivation to do our best for all children. Wildlife makes you happier and full of ideas. Seeing a dolphin off the coast in Brittany where I live, an Indri in Madagascar or a baby rhino on television can spark emotions – it gives one a sense of humanity.
Our collection is inspired by the initiative SOS is coordinating. We want to open kids’ and parents’ eyes about what is happening now to wildlife worldwide. I want my children to have the same chance I had to see lions, elephants and lemurs in wild for example. We help by launching collections every year linked to SOS activities including SOS lemurs in 2016 or African Wildlife for 2018. We donate a percentage of product sales to SOS and collaborate on communications to encourage children and parents with news from SOS that shows the broad benefits of its grantees’ good work.
What niche/roles can businesses play in promoting a culture of conservation?
I don’t think the challenge of saving threatened species is for NGOs alone to solve. More and more businesses are trying to promote nature conservation as part of their offer to customers. Yes, they see a commercial opportunity but more companies are acting on that chance ethically. I see that as a good sign –entrepreneurs are finding more and more ways to do business that helps nature directly or even indirectly.
Still we need to do more to help people make conscientious shopping choices for example when they are buying food or medicine. In offering an alternative, in innovating with eco-materials, with quality and good design, we try to provide another way of shopping for childrenswear. Other companies can bring different resources and skills to partnerships like SOS.
Partnering with SOS helps us leverage our donation for larger impact. It is also a guarantee that the investments are well made thanks to the way it works with IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and the Red List. Selecting suitable projects to finance and support is really technical with many unknowns - as I have witnessed while on a field mission to SOS Lemurs projects in Madagascar last January.
The fact that the projects benefit wildlife and communities makes sense to me. Transferring skills and educating local children resonates with my own background as well. But it also seems like the best chance of helping create a happy healthy planet for these kids. Coqenpâte wants to do even more in that respect.
To learn more about Coqenpâte and the partnership with IUCN's SOS please click here.