We've collaborated with our artisan community to create a special #SaveElephants Collection, which is a partnership with the Clinton Foundation. 10% of proceeds will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International all designed to save African elephants. Shop the whole inspired collection here. Chelsea Clinton answers our questions below, and shares exactly why this initiative is so important right now.Why is the Clinton Foundation’s initiative to save elephants so important right now? In your opinion, what's the most shocking statistic about the treatment of elephants?
Over the last three years, 20 percent of the native population of African Elephants has been killed for their Ivory. That’s 96 elephants a day – and they’re being killed faster than they can reproduce. If we don’t stop the poaching crisis now, we will lose wild African elephants forever. Their slaughter is an ecological disaster and a moral tragedy, and alarmingly, the proceeds from the ivory trade fund some of the world’s most infamous terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda, Al Shabab and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Whether someone cares about our planet’s ecosystem in the future or security today, it is in all of our interests to stop the elephant slaughter.
Our strategy for saving the African elephant has been to galvanize partnerships working across three dimensions: stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand. We can’t win this war without attention paid to each of these three efforts.
What was the reasoning behind partnering with online retailers to curate special collections, and why during New York Fashion Week?
Stopping the demand is something that each of us can do – and that the Clinton Foundation is uniquely positioned to do – by creating what may at first seem like particularly unlikely partnerships with far-reaching effect. We must stop the demand in the United States – unfortunately, it is still legal to buy ivory in the U.S. – and work to educate consumers in the major ivory markets of Asia that ivory only comes from dead elephants.
The display and use of products made with elephant ivory has long been a status symbol for consumers of high end and luxury products – particularly in Asia – and has grown in importance along with the rising Asian middle class.
We know that the consumers of ivory products are the same middle and upper class people who are purchasing high end fashion and luxury goods.
If we can meet the consumers where they are – in the places they shop and with the designers and fashion influencers they follow – we can educate them on a topic they may not be familiar with.
That’s why we wanted to partner with BRIKA and the fashion community: to raise awareness of the poaching crisis among consumers and designers who have a great deal of influence. We are confident this will help reduce demand for ivory which will, in turn, reduce the value of ivory and take a tool out of the hands of terrorists.
How is this initiative a good match for our artisan community?
BRIKA’s products carry a story – something I love about BRIKA’s community. Each maker seeks to create an item that represents something bigger than the item itself. Pairing this talented and caring community with a cause like this is the perfect match. It was terrific to hear how excited all the makers were to begin designing their products.
What message would you like to share with BRIKA customers to encourage them to shop the exclusive elephant collection?
Proceeds from this sale go to three great organizations that are doing vital and effective work on the ground: The Wildlife Conversation Society, Conservation International, and the Nature Conservancy. By shopping this sale, you are giving much needed support to continue their work.
What steps can people take to help to get involved? Can you share some simple ways as well as some ways that might take more commitment?
There’s a lot people can do to help stop the African elephant poaching crisis. First, don’t buy ivory. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t. Some stores still carry products that contain ivory and its impossible to know how old a single piece of ivory is. In other words, just because a piece of ivory is advertised as an antique doesn’t mean it is. A lot of new ivory gets laundered through antiques stores. So just don’t buy it, whether its labelled antique or not
The second thing people can do is support organizations that are really making a difference in this fight – and shop from this sale! There’s such a range of organizations doing tremendous work which are part of our CGI commitment—yet even more work could be done if there were more resources to do it. You can find all our partners here.
And finally use your voice to help educate others about why this issue is so important, particularly given the number of misconceptions around ivory. Elephants are being killed at rates faster than they can reproduce. Removing ivory from an elephant isn’t like pulling a tooth, doing so kills the elephant, either immediately or eventually. Ivory doesn't regrow. Anyone and everyone can play a big role, raising their voices offline and online to spread awareness about this terrible crisis and what we each can do to help. Ultimately, we all bear responsibility.