In May 2019, the first IPBES report confirmed that the trade in flora and fauna is the second biggest threat to species survival and stated that up to 1 million species are potentially facing extinction. Currently, 36,000 endangered species are listed for trade restrictions under CITES; undoubtedly there will be a lot more to come.
As a species becomes rare, then sadly as a result it becomes valuable. Some of the most endangered species in the world are legally traded in the most lucrative and exclusive industries. According to Bain & Company’s Fall–Winter 2018 Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, the overall luxury market grew 5% in 2018, to an estimated US$1.32 trillion.
Endangered species contribute to this mindboggling value of the luxury market, including:
- Personal luxury (clothing, accessories, Jewellery, beauty, wellbeing etc)
- High-end furniture and housewares
- Luxury hospitality, fine dining and gourmet food
- The exotic pet industry (from parrots and reptiles all the way to big cats)
- Trophy hunting and other luxury travel
As a result of this Nature Needs More was delighted to be part of a collaboration exploring the concerns associated with the current, destructive pseudo-luxury market. In November 2018, a month long exhibition was launched with a symposium. For the event, staged in Venice, Nature Needs More explored the concept – Extinction: The Vulgarity of Desire.