Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Battleground Rhino a For Benefit Enterprise

I recently saw an interview on TV promoting a new Animal Planet series: Battleground Rhino Wars.
They caught my attention because I thought they said Battleground 3. (I've not played it personally although I think it looks cool. Besides, I'm more of a strategy and sim gamer: SimCity 2000.) I digress...

Battleground Rhino Wars features four United States Special Forces members training with local South African anti-poaching corps to defend the rhino. The poachers are out to get one thing - the horn - that's all. In fact, poachers have wounded an rhino and stripped its horn while it still alive, leaving the rhino to suffer and die from infection.

One of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams, who wrote The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, my review, also wrote about his travels to Africa where he wore a rhino costume to raise awareness and funds in support of Save the Rhino International. Below is a small excerpt about this experience, from his posthumous book, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time .

"I only spent a week on the walk. I didn't get to climb Kilimanjaro, though I did get to see it. I was very sorry not get to go up it, though having seen it, I have to say that I wasn't very, very sorry. I did get to see one rhino, briefly, out of the thousands that used to roam in this area, and I wondered if it had any sense at all that all was not right with its world. Human beings have been on this planet for a million years or so, and in that time we have faced all sorts of threats to our survival: famine, plague, warfare, AIDS. Rhinoceroses have been here for 40 million years, and just one threat has brought them to the brink of extinction: human beings. We are not the only species to have caused devastation to the rest of the world, and it must be said in our favour that we are the only one that has become aware of the consequences of its behaviour and tried to do something about it."
 We've tried to do something about it. And now it appears that Animal Planet is also supporting this cause in an interesting way. Here is a for-profit company engaging in for-benefit work. As long as there are enough viewers to generate a profit, this company will provide a positive benefit to the world.

This idea of for-benefit companies has been growing slowly. Traditionally, when dealing with taxes, there are two types of companies: For-profit and Non-profit. But what about a different company that is still engaged in profitable activities which evolve from socially beneficial themes? They don't qualify as a non-profit and so cannot take advantage of the tax breaks, yet they are also not strictly a for-profit corporation. It's this blending of the two that opens up a whole new sector in our economy worth investigating.They are also known as B corps. B corps use the power of business that to solve social and environmental problems.

Personally, I hope that Battleground Rhino Wars is widely successful and that it runs for many seasons. Capitalism will protect the Rhino as long as we all tune in to watch the show. What are other scenarios where we can deploy/employ retired soldiers to solve a social or environmental issue?

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