Funding the Aldabra Clean Up Project through Corporate sponsorship and Crowdfunding.

Seychelles Islands Foundation
Published: 22 October 2018
Last edited: 22 October 2018
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Summary

Plastic production has risen from 1.7 million tons in 1954 to 335 million tons in 2016. Much of this plastic has been carried by currents and wind throughout the world’s oceans. The end-point for much plastic is remote islands, such as the iconic Aldabra Atoll World Heritage Site. Vast amounts of plastic has been accumulating along the Aldabra’s shores. This impacts the island’s endemic and endangered fauna and demands urgent action. The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), who manage Aldabra, in collaboration with the Queen’s College, Oxford University created the Aldabra Clean Up Project (ACUP). ACUP includes an expedition to clear plastic pollution from Aldabra. However, ACUP’s costs of exceeded SIF’s usual means of finance. Thus, outside the box thinking was needed to finance ACUP. This involved seeking funds through corporate sponsorship & crowdfunding, in Seychelles & the UK.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Global
Local
National
Ecosystem
Beach
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Theme
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Islands
Outreach & communications
Science and research
Sustainable financing
World Heritage
Hazards addressed
Land and forest degradation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
(I)NDC Submission

Location

Seychelles | Aldabra Atoll, Oxford
Show on Protected Planet

Challenges

Our solution addresses the challenge that many conservation organisations face; the necessity to achieve multiple conservation aims with limited funding. Whilst periodic funding is available, it is extremely competitive and comes with specific themes so that a project such as this may wait years to be eligible. By raising funds through alternative means, we can inform and engage local to gobal businesses of the impacts of marine plastic pollution on international sites of importance like Aldabra. The main challenge in creating this solution has been showing companies how and why financially supporting ACUP will benefit their own aims. For example cruise ships that visit Aldabra with high end tourism have an interest in not only ensuring Aldabra retains its pristineness, but also to show their clients that they actively assist the sites they visit. For other companies the inclusion of specific media commitments (project documentary & news articles) ensured their interests were met.

Beneficiaries

The SIF, the ACUP team who gain skills in developing the project. All those who benefit from Aldabra’s ecosystem services. All ACUP funders who will raise their environmental credentials. Lastly, the Aldabra wildlife.

How do the building blocks interact?

The step by step chart that follows shows interrelationship between our blocks, but it is a simplification and in actuality such activities occur concurrently. The relationship between corporate sponsorship, crowdfunding and awareness raising is ultimately a virtuous cycle, but hard to show. Sponsorship opportunities in our pitch packs married raising awareness and environmental action with brand promotion. Thus, a strong social media presence, a solid website, good media coverage built public support and developed trust between ACUP and funders. Rewards that grew the more that was donated also motivated both individuals and corporations. Crowdfunding was inspired by corporate sponsorship, thus maximizing these funds while crowdfunding helps. With many facets in different places and strict deadlines it is vital to time manage and communicate clearly this mitigates distrust and misunderstanding between team members and funders. Having dedicated people communicate changes and results ensures eventualities are dealt swiftly and appropriately. Potential funders will have questions it’s key that those who manage social media pages can readily answer questions that relate to the project’s modalities, background, aims and practicalities.

Impacts

  1. Adopted new types of sustainable financing for Aldabra by seeking funds from corporate sponsors and crowdfunding, through pitch packs and media campaigns.
  2. Created new means of addressing priorities by pitching to global and local companies operating in Seychelles to use their Corporate Social Responsibility tax contribution to promote their brand’s commitment to address plastic pollution on Aldabra.

  3. Increased Aldabra’s access to resources without compromising integrity by working with reputable companies/organisations, sourcing equipment that is ethical. This will, along with staff training, provide substantial investment for Aldabra’s management.

  4. Formed new partnerships for financing with the private sector by working with corporate sponsors who have a stake in Aldabra’s preservation (e.g. annually Aldabra visiting cruise ships), as well as research partnerships with the University of Oxford.

  5. Used new technologies to mobilize, collect and administer finances for Aldabra by using crowdfunding platforms, social media, news articles, film and documentary.

  6. Engaged groups and companies through media, outreach & education, in solving one of Aldabra’s threats and highlighting global plastic pollution.

  7. Raised major funds (50% of aim) to conduct 1 of the world’s largest beach cleanups, clearing 52 turtle nesting beaches and 32 km of coastal grassland.

Story

Seychelles Islands Foundation

As SIF’s Project Officer and ACUP’s co-team leader I help steer a project that benefits Aldabra, Seychelles and the international community. ACUP's scale and multiplicity has improved my knowledge and its aims add to the global movement of #beatplasticpollution and it shares Aldabra with people who would otherwise never visit such a wonder. Through social media, corporate and crowd funding ACUP unites people globally to tackle one of the collective problems of our time and I am proud to be part of it.

 

My experience of Aldabra changed my life and led me to this solution. When financial constraints forced the deferral of my studies I spent seven months working on Aldabra. While there I learned of Aldabra’s global significance and the major threats encroaching upon the atoll. One of these, marine pollution, was as shocking as it was obvious. Counting turtle tracks on Aldabra's remote nesting beaches showed me the scale of the issue. Often as staff we talked about this and concluded that the main challenge was finance. Removing such waste form Aldabra would exceed the funds available to manage Aldabra and thus it looked like an intractable issue. I remember thinking how could somewhere so remote and protected be hurt by daily human items? And how could we make a difference? December 2013 I left Aldabra to study and though incredible, my experience left me feeling that some environmental issues were unsolvable.

 

After my studies I returned to SIF and was granted another chance to help solve this problem. I was moved by global and local actions on this issue, and the role of youth, so jumped at this chance. ACUP's initial phase involved meetings with people I had never met and led to brainstorming sessions on attracting the right finance. In doing so we found that the right platform needed public and private participation. Working at ACUP’s confluences is an amazing learning experience, and seeing environment and business collaborating is promising in a world increasingly portrayed as a zero-sum game. This is especially true for an avid International Relations student and working conservationist who aims to take on other issues such as climate change. Seeing the ACUP team’s friends, family, as well as strangers fund and convince businesses to finance a solution emboldens me to believe that international cooperation can solve global problems.

Contributed by

Jeremy Raguain

Contributors

Seychelles Islands Foundation
Seychelles Islands Foundation
The Queen’s College, Oxford University