New Year is always a clean slate to adopt new habits or acquire new ways of thinking. After all, how many have solemnly sworn to be healthier, wiser or even happier this 2018?
While these and other goals are usually tended for personal benefits, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines—a national office of the world’s largest conservation organization—is proposing that Filipinos live more sustainably this year for the benefit of the environment, this time by strengthening their merchandising efforts.
“We are now focusing on merchandising and we will do so more aggressively in the coming years. Right now we are at the time when conservation is not out there, it’s with us already,” Ismael John Cabigao, WWF’s officer-in-charge for marketing and resource generation shared during an intimate media roundtable.
Seeing that the consequences of abuse in the environment are getting closer to people nowadays—fishes and other seafood that are for human consumption have been found to ingest microplastics, among others—WWF has thought of boosting their merchandises and coming up with Panda Shop.
Panda Shop is an online store where customers can browse sustainable products and apparel bearing the organization’s trademark panda. The selection goes from small items such as mugs, ballpens, notebooks, bag tags and caps to clothing items such as t-shirts and sweatshirts.
“We just realized that merchandise is a very important tool for people to realize that a little change in your lifestyle can be your own small contribution, in terms of conservation. As such, the term doesn’t sound too foreign anymore,” Cabigao further noted.
“#NotPlastic” glass bottles with neoprene sleeves and metal straws that include its own brush and canvas pouch are also available from the online shop—the organizations answer to the increasing problem of plastic use in the Philippines.
As it turns out, the country ranks third in the world in terms of plastic pollution, with 20 percent of the country’s plastics or about 521,000 tons ending up in the ocean. Not only that, according to WWF President and CEO Jose Angelito Palma, Metro Manila’s very own Pasig River is the eight major source of plastic rubbish in the world.
“That’s why we really have to do away with single use products. At the local level, we are consuming 1.7 planetful already, mainly driven by consumption, but only have one planet so we’re running on a deficit,” Palma also shared during the roundtable.
Besides saving nature from more trashes, TV host and WWF’s Filipino National Ambassador Rovilson Fernandez also sees the use of these merchandises as a way to convey messages.
“The Panda you wear on your shirt, tote bag, umbrella or even on your bottle—it stands a lot more than being just a panda. Say for instance you are wearing a Nike shoe with its iconic swoosh logo. What does it mean?
Innovation, cutting edge technology, setting world records on a yearly basis—that’s why you buy that brand, because of what that swoosh stands for.
“Now, the Panda is also something that we believe in because quiet simply, we don’t need any words below it. It just stands for conservation, volunteerism and nationalism—it stands for many things since the organization’s foundation in the ‘60s. That’s what I love about it,” Fernandez passionately shared, adding that using the logo on merchandise is a great way to create environmental awareness.
To fully be ingrained in the lifestyle of Filipinos, the Panda Shop is also offering stylish water-resistant bamboo watches with wooden watch case and tool adjuster; fashionable black and white canvas bags; survival paracord bracelets with glow-in-the-dark clip, compass, and embedded blade; as well the colorful panda scarf that can also work as a headband, balaclava, and many more.
“We don’t go the cheap way, some of these products I’ve been using for at least three years, they are still in use today. They are not simply one and done,” he additionally assured.
“I think what you are wearing is the most authentic way to express yourself. You are not going to wear something on your body that you don’t believe in or doesn’t represent you,” the WWF ambassador finally noted.