It’s no secret that London retailer Selfridges is passionate about marine conservation. For three years running, Project Ocean, the department store’s retail activism campaign has been reaching out worldwide raising awareness, helping consumers change habits, and rallying support around important issues impacting our seas.
This year at Selfridges, World Oceans Day (8 June) is all about sharks. The World’s Best Department Store is using its creative powers to help expose a dramatic threat to these important and often misunderstood creatures. In true Selfridges style it is exploding with shark themed windows, exhibitions, videos and 3D installations, telling the shark story to the millions of customers who visit the store and browse on Selfridges.com each week.
But a shark take-over in store is only the beginning. Selfridges is committed not only to raising awareness, but also to supporting efforts to pioneer global change. Last night (6 June), a launch event was held at Selfridges which saw Creative Director Alannah Weston, Dr Heather Koldewey of The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Richard Peirce of The Shark Trust and the Shark Conservation Society, unveil plans for a new concept in marine conservation; ‘Shark Parks.’
‘Shark Parks’ are important areas of the ocean dedicated to the conservation of sharks. This new initiative uses the amazing diversity and charismatic nature of sharks to advance ocean conservation, supporting the global need for more marine protected areas (MPAs).
The long term aim is to create ‘Shark Parks’ around the world, beginning with the waters off the coast of Cornwall in the UK. This area is highlighted as a special place for sharks, home to species such as the thresher, porbeagle and iconic basking shark. With Selfridges’ Project Ocean support, ZSL and the Shark Trust unveiled plans to promote this area as the UK’s first ‘Shark Park,’ with a focus on public engagement and scientific research. ZSL will lead the ‘Shark Park’ project internationally, working with partners in areas such as the Galapagos, Mozambique, Sudan and the Canary Islands, for the benefit of sharks and other marine wildlife.
Over 15% of the world’s shark species are classified as ‘threatened’ by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and it is estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. Six million of these are killed every year for squalene, a compound derived from the oil in shark livers, used as an emollient in many cosmetic products.
With the help of Project Ocean partners ZSL and Oceana, Selfridges has completed an audit of its beauty halls and health concession, ensuring all products are free from shark oil and shark by-products. By announcing itself as 100% shark oil free, Selfridges will raise awareness amongst consumers, retailers and the beauty industry about this important environmental issue.
“The unrestricted killing of sharks poses a profound threat to the balance of global marine life. Retailers, shoppers and the beauty industry have everything to gain from increasing their own awareness of the issues and working together to foster change,” says Creative Director and co-founder of Project Ocean Alannah Weston. “Some people call this Corporate Social Responsibility, we call it doing the right thing.”
Visitors to will find out further information on Selfridges Project Ocean.