Nature Needs More is delighted to introduce HowToSpendItEthically.Org a new online magazine to help consumers take a closer look at the LEGAL trade in endangered species. The aim of the publication is to help consumers know their purchasing behaviour is helping to protect the natural world and not adding to the extinction crisis.

The direct exploitation of species for trade has been confirmed as the second greatest cause of the current extinction crisis. While the unsustainability and the lack of proper regulation and monitoring of the legal trade have been hidden in plain sight for decades, this is rarely mentioned in the mainstream media; the focus being the illicit trade.

Unless consumers of products featuring endangered and exotic species are dedicated and tenacious in their research, it is difficult to realise the negative implications of the legal trade. This lack of attention also means that it is too easy for companies and conservation agencies to promote the sustainable use model as helping conservation. Currently there is no real proof for this statement, but a lack of integration of sustainability measures and supply chain transparency into the trade in endangered and exotic species means ‘greenwashing’ is far too easy.

The magazine will cover all aspects of consumption associated with endangered and exotic species, from personal luxury (clothing, accessories, jewellery, beauty, wellbeing etc) to architecture, high-end furniture and homewares. It will also include luxury hospitality, fine dining and gourmet food, the exotic pet industry and luxury travel. As it turns out, all these industries have a direct effect on many species of endangered wildlife and are utilising wildlife in their products.

HowToSpendItEthically.Org also highlights the work being done (or not) at an industry level. We have reached a tipping point, after decades of minimal funding to protect biodiversity from the implications of legal trade. We must accept business involvement in the solutions but this involvement shouldn’t go unquestioned.  Inconsistencies in business and industry approaches and communications must be addressed through better transparency, better regulation and better monitoring.

For example, a key aspect of this is the fact that brands can inadvertently or deliberately drive up desire for products that include wildlife without first thinking of the consequences in relation to sustainability and potential poaching. This includes addressing advertising, marketing and the brand building that drives up desire together with the need for social differentiation.

HowToSpendItEthically.Org will also share our work to Re-invent Magnificence, providing alternative ways to engage with nature and helping foster a cultural transformation and a pragmatic alternative to challenge the entrenched desire to buy (luxury) ‘stuff’.

The publication has also been created because there is a need to seed information and ideas with the majority of people who aren’t currently thinking about the extinction crisis in the natural world.

Looking at the number of images on social media picturing wildlife it is easy to get the impression that many people care and are actively concerned about conservation. Yet over the years organisations who monitor charitable donations have shown that giving to the environment and animals has been consistent and very low; for example, Charity Navigator reports only 3% of all private donations go to Environment/Animals.

These and other measures show how many people are detached from wildlife and the natural world, especially in urban areas. If people are detached from the natural world it is easy to buy products made of endangered and exotic species without thinking about the consequences of their purchasing behaviour.

Our mission is for HowToSpendItEthically.Org to help educate and inform, no one really wants to be a Blind Shopper!

To subscribe to the publication, follow the link: HowToSpendItEthically.Org