European Business: Is it possible to combine economic growth and entrepreneurial success with conservation and protection of the environment?
Céline Cousteau: The private sector has tremendous potential to have a very positive impact on our environment. I started thinking about it when I participated in the World Economic Forum for a few years. The conversations and meetings I had there brought to my attention that corporations have been vilified as the prime suspects in the degradation of the environment. But: the power of businesses can be harnessed for something positive. Companies should look at social entrepreneurship as a leading vision for doing business. I am convinced that this is the vision of tomorrow and that the impact of companies and businesses will be very important in the future of conservation.
Consumers can decide what they want to buy but corporations have the power to decide what they offer and how. Ideas for a more sustainable form of doing business could be the ban of single use plastic or the introduction of volunteer days where companies pay their employees a few days every year to do something good. I know that all of this takes time and effort, but the impact could be huge.
On the other hand, we as NGOs need to be more open to working with private corporations.
Consumers can decide what they want to buy but corporations have the power to decide what they offer and how. Céline Cousteau
European Business: What are you currently working on?
Céline Cousteau: My current project is the documentary “Tribes on the edge”. It is an impact film combined with a campaign that I have started at the behest of an indigenous tribe in the Amazon. The film shows the struggle of indigenous peoples and how their way of life is threatened with extinction. They are the front-line guardians of an ecosystem we all depend on and that’s why their fate must concern all of us.
When I started the project, I knew that telling a story wasn’t enough, so we created a whole campaign around the project that consists of three parts: We have ACTION which includes projects for and with the indigenous tribes. We have COMMUNICATION which stands for the worldwide screening of the film and the dialogue we hope to create by doing this. The third part is EDUCATION which takes the lessons from the film into schools to reach a young audience and future activists.
Right now, we are gaining a lot of momentum, the UN is interested in the project and we are hopeful that the campaign can actually make a difference. We need a bigger army of people to act even more, but we are getting there.
Interview: Stina Bebenroth | Pictures: Michael Clark for CauseCentric Productions, Çapkin van Alphen - CauseCentric Productions