Hundreds of WWF supporters from across the UK have joined forces to create an incredible piece of live art to raise awareness of the desperate plight facing polar bears in the Arctic, as new research reveals the imminent threat to their habitat continues to be vastly underestimated.




The artwork was released alongside a new survey* commissioned for Arctic Home, as over two-thirds (67%) of those polled in the UK said it would take longer than 100 years for all the ice to melt in the Arctic. However recent scientific research** has stated this could happen as early as the middle of this century, and therefore stresses the need for more urgent support and awareness to be generated for the issue amongst the British public.

The findings are announced as Coca-Cola and WWF partner for the second year to launch Arctic Home, a joint initiative to raise awareness and funds to help protect the home of the polar bear, so polar bear mums continue to have a safe place to give birth and raise their cubs.

To mark the launch, people from across the country took part in the astounding live art display that brought to life a stunning image of a polar bear mother and her young cub. The large-scale, aerial image celebrates the second year of the Arctic Home campaign and aims to increase understanding about the current difficulties faced by polar bear families as a result of the melting sea ice and climate change in the Arctic.

Arctic Home is now calling for people to visit www.arctichome.co.uk to learn more about the struggle faced by polar bear families, share their support and make a donation. This year across Europe Coca-Cola will match all donations made to the campaign up to up to €1million.

The Arctic Home partnership was first launched in 2013 as Coca-Cola committed €1 million to help support essential research into the Last Ice Area, an area of over 1.4sq km in the Arctic. The sum also assisted with developing plans to map critical polar bear habitats and improve conservation planning.

The partnership has also helped to fund the 2013 International Polar Bear Conservation Forum – a summit which brought together government representatives from the five polar bear range states, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and the US to agree how best to protect the future of the polar bear in the face of an ever diminishing habitat and new threats. The five states committed to a list of actions designed to help conserve the global population of polar bears.

This year the campaign focuses on the plight facing polar bear mothers in the Arctic. The instinct to protect your children is one of the strongest driving forces on earth and the desire to care, protect and create a safe place to raise our families is something all parents share, whether human or a member of the animal kingdom. However, the rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic are making that simple desire more and more difficult to achieve for the hundreds of female polar bears that give birth every year.

Polar bears give birth in snow caves called maternity dens. These dens, built on land or on the ice, are essential to ensuring that a polar bear mum is able to successfully raise her cubs, which are born blind and hairless and completely dependent on their mum for food and warmth.

As a result of climate change, sea ice is now forming later in the Autumn, resulting in pregnant bears being faced with new and difficult choices, such as being forced to swim vast distances to reach land, or to explore unknown territories in order to find a suitable denning site.

Liz Lowe, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “Since we launched Arctic Home last year the programme has helped to raise awareness of the threats facing polar bears in the Arctic, as well as fund crucial research and support in mapping polar bear habitats. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with WWF to bring the campaign back for a second year and do even more to raise awareness and funds to help ensure that polar bear mothers have a safe place to raise their cubs. The polar bear has been an iconic part of our advertising for over 90 years and so their future is a cause close to our hearts - we want to work together with WWF to ensure a safe habitat for them for many more years to come.”

Glyn Davies , Executive Director of Global Programmes, WWF-UK said: “Arctic Home is now entering its second year, and WWF and Coca-Cola want to re-energise the campaign and reconnect with audiences across Europe, to make them aware of the struggle faced by polar bears, and help create a positive future for polar bear mothers and their families. Climate change is having extreme impacts on the Arctic, which is warming at twice the global average. To safeguard the species, therefore, we need to learn more about climate change impacts, and how polar bears’ habitat is changing as a result. All funds raised through the WWF and Coca-Cola Arctic Home programme will be put directly towards WWF’s Arctic conservation work.”

For further information on Arctic Home please contact:

Jack Shilling, Lexis Agency
0207 908 6457, jshilling@lexisagency.com

Kaytlyn Mitchell , Lexis Agency
0207 908 6420, kmitchell@lexisagency.com

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Notes to editors:

*Online interviews carried out by OnePoll Research with a randomly selected, nationally representative sample of UK adults. 2,000 interviews were conducted in August 2014 using an email invitation and an online survey.

**Scientific research sourced from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the article entitled ‘Arctic nearly free of summer sea ice during first half of 21st century’, dated the 12th April 2013.

HOW MONEY RAISED DURING ARCTIC HOME YEAR TWO WILL BE SPENT

Funds raised by Coca-Cola and public donations to the Arctic Home campaign will contribute directly towards the following six areas:

1. Tracking polar bear mothers

Researching and tracking polar bear movements across the Arctic allows WWF to develop solutions to help mothers and their cubs face a brighter future.

How this money will help:

  • More tracking collars for polar bear mothers mean WWF can follow the bears and learn essential information about polar bear families. Collars cost €10,000 per bear and placing a ‘Critter Cam’, which follows an animal around, costs €5,000.
  • Sponsoring new technologies will make the work of WWF researchers more effective and less intrusive for the bears. Developing those new technologies can cost up to €30,000 depending on project objectives.
  • Paying for a researcher’s time in the field costs €5,000 per bear.

Did you know?
We can only track female bears, because the male’s necks are bigger than their heads – meaning the collars would simply fall off. By better understanding the changing Arctic environment WWF can identify potential new denning sites and plan a more secure future for mother bears and their cubs. Donate today to help protect the polar bears.

2. Monitoring polar bear den sites

Research shows there are fewer dens in some traditional denning areas.  The shrinking sea ice has likely made those areas less suitable for polar bear mothers. By better understanding the changing Arctic environment WWF can identify potential new denning sites and plan a more secure future for mother bears and their cubs.

How this money will help:

  • Finding an Arctic denning site is like finding a white needle in a vast, snowy haystack. Even with light aircraft, snowmobiles and ice-capable boats, it’s an unforgiving environment. Enabling a team of experts to work there costs €25,000 per day.

Did you know?
Polar bears sometimes have to swim for up to 9 days to find sea ice. Mothers are increasingly forced to make a hard choice – stay on land where food is scarce, or swim out to sea ice and risk their cubs. Protecting the polar bears habitat is an ongoing challenge, but with your support and donations we can make a difference.  Learn more here.

3. Mapping polar bears’ future habitat

Arctic areas where summer sea ice is likely to stay longest may be the last places polar bear mothers could call home. With your help WWF aims to identify these areas and give decision makers the information they need to make informed decisions about conserving these areas.

How this money will help:

  • To get an idea of what the Arctic will look like in the future, WWF specialists are creating maps that highlight changes to the polar bears’ home now and in the future. These maps will make it easier for WWF to convince governments in the Arctic of the importance of protection. Creating these maps costs €60 per hour.

Did you know?
By the time your children have grown children of their own the Arctic is projected to be almost completely ice-free in the summer. WWF aims to help communities live safely alongside the polar bear. Donate today to help protect the polar bears.

4. Co-existing in the Arctic

Without sea ice polar bear mothers have no platform for seal-hunting, so hunger and curiosity draw them to towns and settlements. WWF aims to help communities live safely alongside the polar bear.

How this money will help:

  • For years now, WWF has supported native Chukotkans in Russia in averting deadly conflict between people and polar bears. These ‘bear patrols’ cost between €15,000 and €30,000.
  • The model used in Russia has now been exported to Canada and the US. The goal in both countries is to keep people and bears safe from each other.
  • WWF help people living in environments with polar bears avoid unnecessary conflicts and provide bear resistant equipment (like bear-resistant trash storage) or noise makers, crackers and bean bag shells to scare the bears away.

Did you know?
The polar bear’s sense of smell can detect a carcass from several miles away, allowing them to be extremely effective scavengers. WWF aims to conserve key areas, such as denning sites, and protect against potential industrial damage to the Arctic environment. Donate today to help protect the polar bears.

5. Educating on threats from industry

Vanishing sea ice not only erodes polar bears’ habitat, but also frees up access for potential industrial development – like increased shipping and offshore oil and gas. WWF aims to conserve key areas, such as denning sites, and protect against potential industrial damage to the Arctic environment.

How this money will help:

  • Reducing threats to polar bears from industrial activities by researching impacts, and advocating for best practices.
  • Conservation planning for key areas that are important to polar bears now, and may provide refuge as the ice shrinks – places such as Svalbard, Severnya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, and the Last Ice Area (Canadian Arctic islands and north Greenland).

Did you know?
Contact with oil spills can reduce the insulating effect of a polar bear’s fur and oil can be fatal to bears if consumed through grooming. The more WWF can learn about the risk for all animals in the ecosystem, the better equipped they are to preserve a home for polar bears. Donate today to help protect the polar bears.

6. Preserving the Arctic food chain

The polar bear is not the only animal threatened by melting Arctic sea ice. The more WWF can learn about the risk for all animals in the ecosystem, the better equipped they are to preserve a home for polar bears.

How this money will help:

  • A healthy life for the polar bear can’t be achieved by considering their needs in isolation. We need to look at the complex interactions of the whole Arctic food web.
  • WWF keeps a close eye on other animal populations, such as the beluga, narwhal whales and bowhead walruses. Tagging a whale costs €5,000 per year, including data retrieval.

Did you know?
Hunting is a difficult task even for the mighty polar bear, which on average will catch only one seal a week. Melting sea ice will likely mean longer, leaner summers for some polar bears.

About Arctic Home

  • The first year of Arctic Home in Europe saw essential research into the Last Ice Area (an area of over 1.4million sq km in the Arctic - larger than Spain and France combined) take place, as well as plans developed to map critical polar bear habitats to improve conservation planning.
  • Year 1 culminated in the 2013 International Polar Bear Conservation Forum, which brought together government representatives from the five polar bear range states, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and the US to agree how best to protect the future of the polar bear in the face of an ever diminishing habitat and new threats. The five states committed to a list of actions designed to help conserve the global population of polar bears.
  • As Arctic Home enters its second year in NWEN there is a renewed sense of shared passion between WWF and Coca-Cola to connect with parents across North West Europe and the Nordics to make them aware of the continued struggle faced by female polar bears to find a safe place to give birth to, and successfully raise their cubs in the Arctic

Coca-Cola Great Britain

Coca‑Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 23 brands and over 100 products to consumers across Great Britain, with a focus upon developing new brands and extending existing brands including Coca‑Cola (recognised as one of the world’s most valuable brands).
 
Other Coca‑Cola Great Britain brands include Diet Coke, Coca‑Cola Zero, Coca‑Cola Life, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, Glaceau vitaminwater, Glaceau smartwater, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora, Relentless Energy Drink and Powerade. The Coca‑Cola Great Britain portfolio is worth £2,095 million with value sales growth of 4.8% in the past year. Within this, the My Coke trilogy (Coca‑Cola, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Zero) is worth £1,162 million (Nielsen, w/c 20/04/13).
 
In 2013, Coca‑Cola announced four global business commitments to inspire happier, healthier communities. These commitments are to: make low and no calorie options available in every country; market responsibly, including no advertising to children under the age of 12; provide transparent nutritional information, including calorie content, on the front of our packs; and help get people by moving by supporting physical activity programmes in every country.
 
Coca‑Cola Great Britain is committed to developing innovative, responsible and sustainable initiatives that help protect the environment.  The Company has launched its PlantBottle™ plastic made from up to 22.5% plant-based materials.

For more information about Coca‑Cola in Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.uk.

About WWF

  • WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive.
  • Find out more about our work at panda.org and  wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/arctic/. Follow WWF-UK on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

About the WWF and Coca-Cola Partnership

  • Since 2007, Coca-Cola has supported WWF polar bear conservation efforts, through projects like the Polar Bear Support Fund. These funds were used to help WWF carry out important Arctic fieldwork, as well as the purchase of polar bear trackers and other research equipment.
  • In 2011, WWF & Coca-Cola North America came together to launch Arctic Home, a campaign which in its first year, raised over $2million and resulted in consumer perceptions about the need to protect polar bear habitats growing from 38% to 52%.
  • WWF and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together since 2007 to help conserve the planet’s fresh water. We’re also working together to reduce the impacts of Coca-Cola’s operations on the environment through advancing water stewardship, improving energy eff and reducing emissions. In addition, we have worked to promote more sustainable practices in the company’s value chain.
  • In 2011, Coca-Cola reduced its carbon emissions in developed countries, including Europe, by 4% compared with 2010 and 9% compared with its 2004 baseline. Though this represents positive movement, more needs to be done to address total greenhouse gas emissions, which remain above 2004 levels, due to growth. To address this, WWF and Coca-Cola have introduced the “Top 10 Energy Saving Practices” campaign – 10 simple, money saving energy efficiency measures that, when adopted across the company’s bottling partners, will allow the company to meet up to 70 percent of it carbon reduction target.