The controversial ivory jewellery brand in Singapore isn’t what you think

Good morning, all. We’ve all been atrociously trolled by what we thought was a real Singaporean jewellery brand called Ivory Lane that used genuine ivory to make accessories. It was, in fact, a stunt by WWF Singapore to highlight a loophole in the nation’s laws about ivory import.

Here’s what happened.

On 31 July, Ivory Lane launched its social media campaign to promote jewellery made from ivory, the thorn in the side of the battle against poaching. It came with pictures of models wearing the designs, as well as one of an elephant, bearing the caption “Hold nature close to your heart. Own your very own piece of ivory.”

Ivory Lane is actually a WWF PR stunt
The campaign was all part of the ruse. Photo: Ivory Lane (or WWF Singapore?)

“What even?” we asked.

Naturally, there was public outrage and people called the brand despicable for supporting an unethical and illegal trade. At some point, Ivory Lane defended itself in a post, saying that it used vintage ivory sourced from before 1990 in central Africa. As the international ban was only implemented in 1990, the brand was doing nothing illegal. Behold, the legal loophole.

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If it felt so unreal to you that a brand – and the people behind it – would endorse something like this, that’s because it is.

WWF Singapore revealed its secret on Tuesday 7 August, explaining the stunt in a new statement.

In the past six days, Ivory Lane has brought communities in Singapore together to stand against illegal wildlife trade. The online shop has sparked off a heated public debate on wildlife trade, national legislation and enforcement in Singapore.

The brand was created by WWF-Singapore to highlight the current shortcomings in local wildlife laws that allow ivory that entered the market before 1990 to be sold in Singapore.

Your strong support has underscored the need for clear and robust illegal trade laws. Thank you for lending your voice. Together, we can end the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore.

While some people weren’t receptive to WWF’s idea of a controversial PR stunt, others praised the organisation for raising awareness and calling for stricter legislation for wildlife protection in the region.

You trolled us well, WWF.

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Andrea Tim

Andrea is a serial kopi peng drinker (for fun, not for the caffeine; coffee doesn't wake her up) and believer in keyboard shortcuts. She sees The Dress as blue and black, and hears both Yanny and Laurel. Make of that what you will.

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