Last week saw the launch of one of the Museum’s most popular and well-loved exhibitions, Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. I am proud of the role this yearly celebration of nature has played in changing the perception of the natural world.
Captured by the world’s finest photographers, the winning images include entries have come from as diverse as Mozambique, French Guiana and Burkina Faso. That the competition has such global reach is inseparable from the support it has received from corporate partners throughout its 48 year history, including BG Group, Kodak, Shell and Veolia Environnement.
This is the fourth year that Veolia Environnement are working with us on Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Veolia Environnement are a recognised supplier for many public bodies and local authorities across the UK, providing vital environmental services which are a component of everyone's daily life. We all have responsibility for developing sustainable practices to minimise our impact on the planet and as a research institution ourselves, we are satisfied that Veolia Environnement are taking a reputable scientific approach to address these issues.
Corporate partners make a critical contribution to the funding mix for cultural organisations and audiences. While we receive a significant part of our funding from Government, our corporate partnerships, including Veolia Environnement, are a fundamental part of building our financial self-reliance. More importantly, I believe philanthropy offers companies a valuable way to engage with social and environmental issues. Our work with corporate partners helps us to continue promoting the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world.
It is undeniable that the natural world faces real challenges and understanding this is at the core of the Museum’s mission. A potential partnership with a company is considered in the context of whether it will help further the Museum’s aims and mission. It’s not a case of ruling out working with any specific company or sector. I believe it is more logical and effective to look at every potential partnership in the light of what the Museum is here to do.
Our fundraising research team conducts a wide-ranging review of each potential partner through independent third party sources such as Corporate Critic, Ethical Research Consumer database and research campaigns against the companies concerned. Every organisation we work with in this way goes through the same procedure. The process we follow is in line with published guidelines from many similar organisations.
Veolia Environnement’s connection to Veolia Transport’s activities in the West Bank and the Tovlan landfill site were raised in the context of the wide range of activities of the entire group of the Veolia companies. The political situation in Palestine is very complex with difficult political aspects; Veolia Environnement are best placed to explain their involvement in the area.
The Museum’s role is to be the voice of authority on the natural world. We don’t campaign or lobby for ourselves, any other organisation or cause beyond our core mission: to maintain and develop our collections to promote the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world.