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Social Capitalists: Rare

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
2007 Social Capitalist Winner

Rare

Arlington, VA
Year founded: 1973
CEO: Brett Jenks
www.rareconservation.org

For the third year in a row, Rare has been recognized by Fast Company magazine as one of the top 25 Social Capitalists. A U.S.-based conservation organization, Rare works globally to equip people in the world's most threatened natural areas with the tools and motivation they need to care for and value their natural resources. For the last 30 years, at more than 90 sites and in more than 40 nations, Rare has focused as much on people as on science--addressing the underlying social and economic factors that create environmental threats.

Rare has developed a suite of social marketing and business development tools to motivate local communities to protect their natural surroundings. Rare's signature "Pride campaign" builds grassroots support for environmental protection by training local conservation leaders in the use of commercial marketing tactics to build awareness, influence attitudes, and enable meaningful change. Pride campaigns produce a groundswell of support that leads to tangible conservation successes, such as new national parks, legislative reforms, or reduction of threats from forest fires or over-fishing.

Rare is now approaching its 100th Pride campaign, having already reached more than 6 million people in biodiversity-rich areas. As local community engagement becomes increasingly critical to global conservation, demand for Rare's services is growing. Organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, National Audubon Society, and the United Nations have already contracted with Rare to build support for environmental protection in the places where they work. And Rare has launched centralized training centers -- in the U.K., Mexico, and Indonesia -- to train local leaders in three languages to run effective local outreach campaigns. (Rare will start a fourth university program, in China, in 2007).

Rare recently presented its first-ever "Rare Award for Inspiring Conservation" to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and naturalist E.O. Wilson -- one of the environmental movement's most prolific and eloquent voices. E.O. Wilson has called for creation of a "global land ethic" and stressed the need to make conservation more inspiring if we are to engage people at the scale needed for lasting change. Rare is doing exactly that. As Wilson himself has noted: "In an original manner, Rare attends to conservation where it has ultimately the most lasting effect -- through education tuned to the culture and needs of local people."

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