Promoting 'green collecting' in China | WWF

Promoting 'green collecting' in China

Posted on
09 June 2015
With the global poaching crisis hitting the headlines again with news of the catastrophic collapse in Tanzania's elephant population, it is clear that enhanced anti-poaching and trafficking measures are only part of the solution to the current crisis. Efforts also need to be made to reduce consumer demand for products from threatened and endangered wildlife.

Which is why TRAFFIC has just launched a 'green collecting' campaign at the 6th China Art Handicrafts Expo hosted by Wen Wan Tian Xia. The innovative initiative aims to change the behaviour of a specific group of consumers by calling on collectors to purchase artwork made from sustainably sourced materials - items that have a 'cultural value without reputational cost'.

Twenty-two craftsmen took part in a live demonstration of nut, crystal and amber carving at the Expo, led by Zhe School master craftsman Liu Xiangqian and his 'Small Furnace Art Studio' team.

Using the opportunity to create artwork on the theme of the 'co-existence between people and wild animals', Liu said that “China has a rich heritage of collecting, and today’s collectors should focus on the intrinsic artistic and cultural value of the artwork and not the material from which it is derived."

“Ivory is only one medium—artistic carving and its place in traditional culture can be inherited in many ways," he added. "We would rather leave wildlife to co-exist with our descendants than leave our descendants with evidence of wildlife killing.”

Liu was awarded a 'Public Welfare and Social Responsibility Advocate Pioneer' certificate by TRAFFIC’s Behaviour Change Programme Manager, Zhang Sheng, in recognition of his efforts and those of the Small Furnace Art Studio in protecting threatened wildlife species through encouraging green-collecting practices.

“The survival of many endangered wild species has been seriously threatened by growing consumer demand for and illegal trade in their products,” said Zhang. “TRAFFIC encourages green collecting, whereby collectors pay close attention to the cultural value of artwork, but avoid those items that would cause reputational damage.”

Mr Jiang Kaixuan, a famous master of calligraphy showed his support for the green collecting initiative by inscribing “绿色收藏” (Green Collecting) on a banner he presented to TRAFFIC.

TRAFFIC’s collaboration with master craftsmen aims to sustain the traditional Chinese culture of artwork collecting, while leading collectors towards a preference for items made from sustainably-sourced materials.

“As the leading collectibles company, we are aware of our corporate social responsibility and actively support ‘green collecting’, which we hope to see widely adopted by industry insiders and collectors, alongside a refusal to consume illegal wildlife products," said Gou Sen, Operations Manager for Wen Wan Tian Xia.
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