Our Conservation Mission
In 2006, a group of family and friends joined together to create the Save Your World project. The mission of this organization is to provide financial support for and create public awareness around conserving our world’s natural resources.
By purchasing our products, you are contributing to the Save Your World project, a partnership with Conservation International and the Government of Guyana Forestry Commission. The project secures rainforest habitat that would have been leased by mining or logging companies. Every purchase you make helps protect one whole acre of dwindling habitat, thus keeping it in its pristine condition.
Photo: Guyana Forestry Commission - September 2006 (from left to right) - Tashreef Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Forest; unidentified; James Singh Commissioner of Forest; Scott Cecil, President Save Your World; Dr. Dick Rice, Chief Economist, Conservation International; Jim Cecil, Vice President, Save Your World; Dr. Patrick Chesney, Policy Manager, Conservation International.
UPPER ESSEQUIBO CONSERVATION CONCESSION
In 2002, Conservation International reached an agreement with the Government of Guyana called the Upper Essequibo Conservation Concession.
This groundbreaking agreement uses conditions similar to those applied to logging operations, whereby annual royalties and fees are paid to the Guyana Forestry Commission in exchange for acreage.
However, instead of logging or mining the region, Conservation International maintains 200,000 acres of this rainforest in Southern Guyana in its pristine state.
When we started Save Your World, it was important to us that we create a message that would resonate with consumers. We wanted our customers to know exactly what their purchases would accomplish in order to make this world a better place in which to live. Therefore, Save Your World chose to assign a tangible benefit or result to each product sale.
We felt assigning a percentage of profit or of proceeds was too ambiguous. This is especially true in the start-up phase of any business, since proceeds and profits are non-existent. But even for companies that have been in business for a long time, there is no way for consumers to know what a “percentage of profits or proceeds” really means in terms of actual dollars being contributed to a cause.
So, our goal from the beginning has been and always will be to build as much transparency into the business as possible to address any skepticism or concern and to allow our customers to understand exactly how they are helping us achieve tangible conservation results.
Currently, a summary explanation of how your purchases are helping protect the environment can be found at the bottom of every page of our website. A more detailed overview is just one click away from every page.
In order to further address the transparency issue, Save Your World partnered with the world-renowned organization Conservation International, which is a nonprofit applying innovation in science, economics, policy, and community participation to protect the Earth's biodiversity around the world. Consumers can be confident that by partnering with such a reputable organization Save Your World is completely vetted by one of the leading conservation entities in the world. Our partnership is explained here at Conservation International.
Save Your World’s first conservation project is a renewable 30 year lease protecting 200,000 acres of pristine rainforest in Southern Guyana. How it all works is actually quite simple. Basically, Save Your World, through an agreement with Conservation International, does the same thing a logging company would do by leasing land from the Guyana government’s Forestry Commission. The main difference between commercial uses for the land and our lease is this: Save Your World protects and maintains the land in its pristine state. Thus, Save Your World is preserving the habitat for endangered species and for future generations. We call this a conservation concession instead of a mining or logging concession.
Right now product contributions to support this project vary from $.15 to $4.50 per product for Save Your World personal care products and related items. In some cases, combinations of products in gift packages generate $11.20. (Please see the section below titled “Individual Product Contributions” for a complete listing of the funding on a per product basis.) While $.15 may not seem like a big deal to some, it actually represents a large percentage of profit from each product sale. Our total contributions end up being a much greater percentage than the 5% or 10% of profit you see some companies allocating toward their respective cause(s). In some cases, as with the sale of wristbands and hats, we actually donate 100% of the profit to our conservation mission.
In the Rainforest Mall, where other everyday or specialty products are available for purchase, 5% of the sale price from each product goes to support the Save Your World conservation projects. The percentage model is being used here due to the variable pricing of the thousands of products that can be found in our Rainforest Mall. Since the price of products sold in the Rainforest Mall vary a great deal and some products sell for hundreds of dollars, we felt it was not enough to say 1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year (see section below). Instead, for these products our policy is to commit to saving one acre of rainforest for every incremental $25 of the retail purchase price. Our feeling is that not only is this a more reasonable approach, but it also allows the consumer to know exactly how much is being donated to the conservation mission. It is our hope you will look for products you purchase every day and choose to buy them in the Rainforest Mall. The more you buy the more rainforest you save.
1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year
We developed the message, 1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year, in order to give our customers a clear understanding of their conservation impact when they buy a product from Save Your World. This is accomplished by allocating at least $.15 from each purchase toward our conservation mission. The $.15 pays the annual acreage fee for one acre to Guyana’s national Forestry Commission. (Please click “Individual Product Contributions” for a complete listing of the funding on a per product basis.)
Acreage Fees and Royalty Fees
Acreage fees are the largest component of the leasing agreement. As mentioned above, these fees amount to $.15 per acre per year which is exactly the same fee that a logging company would pay to lease the land from the Forestry Commission.
In addition to the acreage fees, we are also helping Conservation International to cover other costs, including the lease’s annual royalty payments. Royalties are typically based on timber production, but since our lease does not involve any timber harvesting we are instead required to pay the minimum royalty that would have been paid had the land been used for logging. This minimum payment is approximately $.05 per acre per year.
Together these two payments make our leasing agreement unique in that it provides a steady and reliable long-term source of income to the government and the people of Guyana that is directly based on the conservation of nature.
Voluntary Community Investment Fund
In addition to the concession, a Voluntary Community Investment Fund (VCIF) has been established by Conservation International as part of our involvement in the area. This fund has been created to help support the local communities of Apoteri, Rewa, and Crash Water. The communities are located 50 miles, 75 miles, and 100 miles respectively from the concession. The communities played a key roll in determining where CI’s conservation concession would be located, so as not to conflict with any areas over which they have traditional claims.
The active involvement and support of these communities is viewed as essential for the long-term success of our partnership with Conservation International. People living in close proximity to the rainforest generally recognize the importance of protecting the land and its resources. However, faced with the practical necessity of feeding their families, there is often a great deal of pressure to utilize the natural resources found on surrounding lands.
The VCIF helps in alleviating some of that pressure and in developing strong community support for our shared conservation objectives. The VCIF accounts for approximately $.05 per acre. The most recent project Save Your World directly supported to help the local communities was to provide a $3,500 boat engine to help speed up transportation on local rivers. This was determined to be an important way by which to support the communities because river travel is the only feasible way to get around in the region.
In summary, local community support is a key ingredient to achieving success in our conservation program in Guyana and the VCIF is essential to securing that support. Without this key component local community involvement could quite simply not be achieved.
Allocation Methodology for Additional Funding
As stated previously, it is the goal of Save Your World to fully fund the Guyana Conservation Concession as soon as possible. Toward that end, with many products Save Your World contributes more than the $.15 acreage fee payable to the Forestry Commission of Guyana. (Please click here for the “Individual Product Contributions” complete listing of the funding on a per product basis.) In the future we intend to continually find ways to generate more than the acreage fee per product.
In cases where additional funding is generated, 100% of the contributions go toward our conservation effort. (Please see below for the 100% Contribution Pledge Explained.) The agreement between Save Your World and Conservation International dictates that the additional funding be allocated into three component areas. The first is designed to fund acreage fees in the current year until the acreage fees for all 200,000 acres are paid.
The second component is designed to fund the royalty fees in the current year until all royalty fees are paid. The third component is designed to set aside additional funds for future years.
As an example, the “Save Your Rainforest” green wristband generates $2.50 per wristband to the Guyana conservation concession project. The first $.15 goes toward paying the acreage fee to the Forestry commission. This is what completes the pledge - 1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year. The balance of the donation goes toward funding all three components as mentioned above. In this example, the balance of the funds after the one acre’s acreage fee is $2.35 which will go toward funding the acreage fees in the current year until all acreage fees are covered. Once all acreage fees for the current year are covered, then additional funds are allocated toward the current year’s royalty fees until such time as this component is fully funded for the current year
Finally, once the royalty fees for the current year are fully funded, the remaining amounts are set aside for funding in future years.
This methodology is designed to allow Save Your World to fully fund the Guyana Conservation Concession project and to then move on to another conservation project.
100% Contribution Pledge Explained
Finally, the agreement between Save Your World and Conservation International is structured so that 100% of the donations/contributions (please see the Individual Product Contributions section below) resulting from Save Your World product sales are devoted to the conservation mission on the ground. Administrative fees and other costs are absorbed by the business. We believe this further enhances the relationship between Save Your World and its customers by ensuring consumers have a complete understanding of how their financial support is going directly for conservation purposes on the ground rather than administrative expenses.
Audit and Verification
Auditing is a standard part of our efforts to avoid problems and ensure transparency. Save Your World is presently working to audit the 2007 financial transactions between Save Your World, Conservation International, and the Forestry Commission of Guyana. The objective here is to build another layer of accountability into the business to confirm our agreement is being followed to the letter. In addition, Save Your World personnel have visited the lease property annually to confirm it is in fact being maintained in its pristine state.
Individual Product Contributions
Personal Care Products
The initial contributions of the personal care products sold by Save Your World under the brands Save Your Skin™, Save Your Hair®, Save Your Body®, Save Your Lips™ and Save Your World™ were set at $.15 per product. In 2008, Save Your World raised many of the per product contributions to $.25. This was a direct result of the overwhelming support by our customers to help protect nature’s most important resources. By increasing sales volume, it is our hope that future increases in contributions can be made as economies of scale are realized and costs are reduced in the business. All 8 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz liquid products contribute $.25 per product.
Please click here to see the Individual Product Contributions Chart.
Save Your World sees an opportunity to provide its customers with the ability to purchase everyday products and at the same time make an important contribution to protecting the environment. It is our objective that our customers will be given the opportunity to purchase products at competitive prices and still be able to do something great to protect habitat and endangered species.
We encourage all our customers and those interested in protecting some of this planet’s most important resources to periodically check out the new products added to the Rainforest Mall.
These products generate a full 5% of the purchase price of each product toward our conservation mission(s). This is much greater than the claims made by other companies that contribute 5% or 10% of profit. Furthermore, it is the only way for our customers to know exactly what results they are generating toward conservation and protection of the environment.
For products sold on the Rainforest Mall, we felt it was not enough to say 1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year. For example, it just didn’t seem right to say that for a product costing $500 you would be saving only one acre, so for all the products sold on the Rainforest Mall we are instead committing to save one acre for every $25 of product purchase price. Again, as with the all-natural personal care products with organic ingredients, any additional funding resulting from the balance between funding the current year’s acreage fee and the product’s individual contribution goes toward the other two components of the concession costs. When the components are fully funded for the current year, the additional funds help fund each component for future years until the entire project is funded.
Advantages of the Conservation Concession Approach
The Guyana Conservation Concession involves a long-term, renewable lease to 200,000 acres of pristine rainforest, an area five times the size of the District of Colombia. Although the agreement with the government has a fixed, 30-year term, our objective is to protect the area in perpetuity by periodically renewing the lease.
Conservation concessions are a novel approach to protecting rainforest that was pioneered by Conservation International with this project in 2002. There are a number of distinct advantages to this approach that we feel our customers should be aware of and that we at Save Your World are very proud to support.
Efficient and Effective
To begin, there are several advantages to leasing areas of rainforest that we wish to protect versus other potential approaches such as purchasing the land outright. For one thing, the land in this case is owned by the government of Guyana and is not available for purchase. Similarly, the establishment of permanent government protected areas such as parks is not currently possible in Guyana due to a lack of appropriate legislation. Even if this were not the case, the creation of a traditional protected area can be an extremely time consuming and expensive process. In the case of Guyana, this makes leasing the land the only realistic option in the short term for protecting the forest in its pristine state.
Income and Benefit Generation
Beyond this practical consideration, a long-term, renewable lease has the advantage of using an existing legal mechanism that governments readily understand and that can therefore be implemented rapidly. Leases also compete directly with logging and other threats to biodiversity and provide a steady stream of income to the government and local citizens. An annual lease agreement also gives local people a viable alternative to destructive exploitation as the only way to attain long-term economic development. In short, the conservation concession approach allows governments and local citizens to benefit directly from the conservation of nature and therefore eliminates the need for governments like Guyana’s to choose between conservation and economic development.
Helping to Catalyze Future Conservation in Guyana and Around the World
As noted, the Guyana Conservation Concession was established in 2002 as the first conservation agreement of its kind in the world. Since that time, Conservation International has gone on to pioneer this approach in more than a dozen different countries in an extraordinary diversity of different contexts, from agreements with governments to protect large areas of lowland rainforest, such as in Guyana, to agreements with traditional Quchua Indian communities in the High Andes, and increasingly, agreements protecting marine environments as well, particularly in the South Pacific.
The pioneering nature of this agreement is one of the reasons that we chose the Guyana Conservation Concession as our first mission. Not only has it helped to promote increased interest and support for conservation in Guyana, but it has also provided support to a mechanism that we believe will eventually connect tens of millions of interested consumers who wish to contribute to the protection of rainforests and other endangered habitats with the resource owners in developing countries who will ultimately decide whether or not these areas are protected. The Save Your World team recently helped celebrate the five (5) year anniversary of this innovative agreement in Georgetown, Guyana and we are eager to commit to continuing our support for this project long into the future.
The Save Your World goal is to fully fund this project for the entire 30-year lease as fast as possible through the help of loyal customers like you. The more products you buy the more rainforest acres we save for future generations. For a more in-depth explanation regarding the concept of leasing land as a means by which to protect habitat through creating conservation concessions, please click here for more information.
Future Plans Overview
The Save Your World goal is to remain focused on a small number of projects in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in the project areas we support. At present, Save Your World is focused on a single project, the Guyana Conservation Concession. As stated earlier, it is our goal to fully fund this project as soon as possible. In 2008, we expect to begin a partnership on a second conservation project with Conservation International. This project will focus on protecting the largest uninhabited and unlogged island in the Pacific, including thousands of acres of pristine rainforest and adjacent coral reefs. This focus on terrestrial ecosystems and adjacent freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems is extremely exciting. As with the Guyana Conservation Concession, an integral component of our second project will be in providing concrete benefits to local communities who, in this case, own the area in question.
Once this partnership is established, Save Your World will be looking for only one more project. And as our logo design depicts, that project will seek to complete the natural balance of nature between land, air, sea, animals and humans. In addition to our conservation mission, Save Your World also seeks projects that support human well being with a focus on helping the poorest of the poor. These projects range from donations to a homeless shelter system in San Francisco to working with the disabled and physically challenged here in the United States when our business requires labor support for special projects.
We sincerely hope that the information above has provided you with a much greater understanding of our conservation mission and company goals to protect the environment for future generations. Save Your World strongly believes there is no other business in the United States that has a message as powerful as 1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year. We also trust our customers will see the advantage to buying products from Save Your World in order to make a very tangible contribution towards protecting the environment.