Conservation Influencers

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

UK

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) was established in 1904 by Royal Charter in the UK, having previously been called the Society for the Protection of Birds. Today, the RSPB is the largest nature conservation charity in Britain.

The RSPB’s scope of operation is global and its mission is three-fold: save threatened wild birds and other wildlife; protect, restore and create wild places; inspire people to take action for nature. 

The RSPB reportedly employs 34 full-time staff in public relations functions and 685 members of staff – out of a total of circa 1,300 – as fundraisers. The former English cricketer Ian Botham, now figurehead of the charity You Forgot the Birds, criticized the RSPB in 2018 for ‘spending £57m of its £134m budget in 2017 on fundraising, education and inspiring support’. That compared with £36m it spent on its bird reserves. 

The RSPB defended itself by saying ‘communication staff organise events, write and produce materials for use on its reserves and help to inspire and educate its supporters in how they can help nature themselves’. Only six full-time staff, RSPB said, ‘work with the media on a national level’. 

Most of the RSPB’s international work is carried out through BirdLife International, which is the Red List Authority for birds for the IUCN Red List. 

Leaders

Beccy Speight, CEO.

Governance 

Council and Management Board chaired by Kevin Cox.

Finances

RSPB’s finances are transparent. According to its Treasurer, at the end of the financial year 2018 – 19, its net income was £112.4 million (after deducting fund raising costs) and its expenditure was £99.6 million, together with a further £7.1 million of capital expenditure.

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.

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Franz Weber Foundation

From 1990 until 2015, Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) managed the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, which was, according to an in-depth investigation by Duke University, ‘established by forcing the local communities off their land and without taking into consideration their point of view’. That same study cited convincing evidence from reports published in 1990, confirming that competition for land use was already ‘creating conflict between the local communities and park managers’. In 2015, Togo refused to renew FFW’s contract because, the report says, ‘local communities were still excluded from the management of the natural resources of their land’ and FFW had ‘failed to fulfil its contract’. Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. Contrary to the wishes of the range states in Southern Africa, which manage most of the world’s wild elephant populations, the AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And the AEC uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair, which Southern African nations wish to legalise.

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