Sir David Attenborough backs animal welfare fund for advertisers

Broadcaster and naturalist is an ambassador for The Lions’ Share Fund (Yui Mok/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Sir David Attenborough is backing a fund that is calling on advertisers who use animals in their campaigns to contribute to conservation and welfare projects.

The broadcaster and naturalist is an ambassador for The Lions’ Share Fund, a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative that is asking advertisers to contribute a percentage of their media spending to tackle a “crisis” in wildlife conservation.

The fund – which already includes Mars, advertising network BBDO and analysts Nielsen – will see those involved contribute 0.5% of their media spending for each advertisement they use featuring an animal.

The money will be invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs by the UN and other organisations.

Sir David said: “Animals are in 20% of all advertisements we see. Yet, they do not always receive the support they deserve. Until now.

“The Lion’s Share shows that by making a small difference today, we have an opportunity to make an unprecedented difference tomorrow.”

UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said: “Wildlife and their habitats are in crisis right now. We are losing species at an unprecedented rate, estimated to be 1,000 times the natural extinction rate.

“The Lion’s Share is an idea that is as innovative as it is simple, and which will make a real impact on the future of animals, their habitats and our planet.”

Rob Galluzzo, founder of production company Finch, which initiated the idea for the fund, said: “Nine out of the 10 most popular animals we see in commercials are actually endangered or threatened and they do not always receive the support they deserve. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.”

Mars chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke said: “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.

“We urge other companies and brands to join us in The Lion’s Share to help build a movement to tackle these critical issues.”