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Nature groups "must change with the times"

Environmental organisations have no future in their present form, according to Switzerland's largest conservation organisation, Pro Natura.

This content was published on March 26, 2009 - 13:48

In 20 years the environment will be so commercialised that the business world will take over its protection out of self-interest, said the 100-year-old organisation on Thursday.

Pro Natura, which started life in 1909 as the Swiss League for the Protection of Nature, predicted that by 2029 awareness of sustainability and the extent of the threat facing the environment will have become established and that the image of nature as an idyllic retreat will also have gained in popularity.

This is something businesses are becoming increasingly aware of, for example by targeting different groups depending on their purchasing power.

Nature will become a product and businesses will take over the central job of environmental organisations because they will make money from it, said the study.

However, this would not mean the end of nature organisations. They could get involved in the least-commercialised parts of nature, in addition to monitoring and certifying the activities of businesses. They could also act as think tanks in the search for interdisciplinary solutions.

"Environmental organisations which don't adapt their current role are in danger of slipping into insignificance in the mid-term," it concluded.

swissinfo with agencies

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