Keeping a logo alive

Over 300 companies use animals in their logos. Will they pay to protect them?

For years, environmental groups have been calling the public’s attention to the plight of endangered animals. As a rule, their campaigns work best when people make a connection with a particular species – think whales, pandas or polar bears. All of which suggests that the 18-month-old Save Your Logo initiative should be a success. A joint program founded by the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Save Your Logo encourages the more than 300 companies worldwide that use animals in their logos to commit money to support conservation of those species.

To date, however, it’s been a very tough sell. In December, Lacoste – the Paris-based clothing maker synonymous with the crocodile logo – became just the first major corporation to sign on to the campaign, donating US$500,000 over three years to help the endangered Gange gharial crocodile. In announcing the company’s commitment, president Michael Lacoste said it was about giving back to the animal to which it owes so much.

Despite the slow start, landing Lacoste could be an auspicious sign. In 1934, it set a trend by becoming the first company to sew its logo on its clothing. Seventy-six years later, Save Your Logo’s founders hope it’s a trendsetter again.