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Canon - Canon's WWF Polar Bear Project

Added on 22-03-2013





Business challenge

From a business perspective we were looking for a project that made our commitment to the environment both clear and tangible. As part of our partnership with WWF we were eager to be involved in specific projects that could make a difference particularly among young people. Many of our environmental/climate initiatives are quite technical and difficult to understand for people who are not specifically involved in sustainability. Therefore, Canon developed it's Factor 2 campaign, which explains in an easy-to-understand way, Canon's combined programmes for CO2 reduction targets.

In order to present Factor 2, we were looking for a conservation project that clearly presented the need for CO2 reductions that triggered Canon's factor 2 project. The conservation project had to be something that would work well in our communication (both internal and external) and that was robust enough to have a broad appeal and that could be leveraged through a variety of media including on-line and events.


The polar bear is under threat from climate change. There are more than 22,000 polar bears in the Arctic, but this will change if the Arctic continues to warm at twice the rate as the rest of the world.

Polar bear scientists are now predicting that more than 30 per cent of polar bears will disappear in the next 35 to 50 years. If our great-grandchildren are to live in a world with polar bears in it, we must all take action now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide.

Tagging the polar bears helps WWF because scientists learn valuable information by observing them in their natural habitat. Radio collars are used to track their movements. This helps WWF to understand how they travel. For example, in years when there is less sea ice, it will tell us where bears go and how they adapt. It also helps WWF to monitor their health. Length and weight are measured, samples of blood, fat, hair, and other tissues are taken to identify any toxic contamination, and an estimate of its age is conducted. As part of this project, Canon Europe also developed together with WWF a new section aimed at children on the WWF Polar Bear Tracker website,

This project provided an easy to understand way to express the urgency of action for stopping climate change and to introduce Canon's environmental initiatives and Factor 2 target to our customers and other stakeholders.

Activities included:

  • Press conference on business and the future of the planet and Canon's plans for the future, and how the two are linked
  • An environmental section at our 50th Anniversary event where Canon's commitment to the environment and the Factor 2 target in particular were linked to the polar bear project.
  • An education programme in schools around Europe and on-line raising awareness of climate issues among young people
  • An internal programme for employee motivation and environmental awareness linked to the polar bear naming project


  • Applicable across Canon's EMEA region
  • Appropriate for different target groups (press, employees, customers)
  • Works across different media (events, pr, web)
  • Linked to Canon's existing sponsorship programmes

Challenges/Lessons learned:

As the naming sponsor of WWF-Canon Polar Bear Tracker, the basis of our communications focused not only on the plight of polar bears, but also on Canon's own measures against climate change and the importance of energy efficient products to reduce emissions. This provided a great product link, as well as creating credibility for both partners in the communication. Canon realised (and is still realising) the following objectives with this project:

  • Use the Polar Bear Tracker as a lever to activate the WWF sponsorship at the central and local levels
  • Brand awareness through naming rights to the Tracker
  • CSR strategy - expression of Canon's environmental and educational commitments
  • Communicate Canon Europe's measures against climate change

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