Lacoste joined IUCN SOS to produce a series of outreach campaigns using events, social media and licensed products that would harness the inspiring power of species through innovative and creative communications, leveraging its marketing expertise to generate increased support for species conservation by reaching new audiences.
The collaboration also demonstrates how businesses can engage in species conservation through SOS in a way that realises their own commercial objectives while also supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals to protect Life on Land (14) and Life in Water (15).
Fundamentally, the collaboration channels this interest and support to fund conservation projects on the ground for species featured in these campaigns. These projects are identified and selected following SOS procedures (i.e. a competitive call for proposals and expert evaluation of projects by members of the Species Survival Commission (SSC)).
In 2018 the partnership launched its first campaign, producing ten limited edition polo-shirts where the iconic Lacoste crocodile was replaced by ten different threatened species. These species were selected from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ with the help of species experts in the IUCN SSC, in order to identify those most threatened species where accurate estimates indicate that there are fewer than 500 individuals left in the wild. The number of shirts for each species corresponded to the number of known individuals remaining in the wild. The campaign featured different species of mammals, reptiles and birds to highlight the diversity of wildlife in need of conservation.
Following on from this success, Lacoste launched a new line of limited edition polo-shirts in 2019 featuring another ten threatened species including insects, freshwater fish, amphibians, mammals and birds.
On the International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May - the ten species not only took over the crocodile's spot on the Lacoste polos, but also every inch of ten Lacoste stores worldwide.
All profits from the sale of all items across those stores on that day will go to help IUCN conserve threatened wildlife.
Learn more about the species and the campaign here.
The stars of the 2019 limited edition polo-shirts are:
|Species||Estimated known population|
|Hawaiian monk seal||1,400|
|North Atlantic right whale||444|
|Yemeni mouse-tailed bat||150|
|Northern hairy-nosed wombat||115|
While each species faces a number of particular pressures leading to extinction risk, all are in need of increased funding to help ensure their long-term survival. The Lacoste X IUCN SOS partnership really showcases how business can make a difference by highlighting the urgent need to conserve biodiversity to new audiences.