Tiffany donates $1.4m to save our reef
THE Tiffany & Co. Foundation has put up $1.4 million to protect and restore the global treasure of the Great Barrier Reef.
It is the latest in a string of corporate philanthropists to gift million dollar sums to save the jewel in the crown of the world's reefs.
"We believe there is reason for hope," Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chairman and President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation said.
"Together, we can find novel solutions to preserve this precious coral ecosystem and ensure that it is vibrant and healthy for generations to come."
The $1.4 million gift is to support the Great Barrier Reef Foundation's Out of the Blue Box Innovation Challenge, to be launched today, in a global call for new ideas to bolster future resilience of the iconic natural asset.
"Through the Challenge, we hope to identify creative approaches to restore not only the Great Barrier Reef, but coral reefs around the world," GBRF managing director Anna Marsden told The Courier-Mail.
The Challenge calls for innovations in finance, technology, and social science to ease pressures on the Reef and allow it to recover - and comes with an $300,000 cash prize for the winning concept.
In Cairns, a Reef restoration symposium with global experts has this week heard of novel options like underwater robots to kill deadly crown-of-thorns starfish, cloud brightening, and sun shields to protect the reef on hot days.
Others include efforts to unlock coral's genetic code.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, part of the New York-based luxury jewellery retailer, fears the world's largest living organism - home to some of the richest biodiversity on Earth - has lost some of its lustre.
"Various threats - such as climate change, poor water quality and impacts from human activity - have led to a widespread decline of coral cover in recent years,'' it said.
It is also supporting Reef Aid, a project of Greening Australia, to improve water quality by restoring watersheds and wetlands near the Reef, halting erosion and reducing sediment in ocean waters.
"Greening Australia and our partners are tackling one of the most critical threats to the iconic and globally significant Great Barrier Reef," Brendan Foran, CEO of Greening Australia, said.
"With The Tiffany & Co. Foundation's support, which will be matched with the same level of government funding, we will continue to improve water quality, boosting the Reef's resilience to fight climate change."
Queensland's millionaire benefactor David Thomas, founder of wine business Cellarmasters, is Australia's single biggest environmental philanthropist.
His $60m legacy has earnt him the title "Mr Great Barrier Reef".
In April, investment banker Stephen Fitzgerald gifted a million dollars to the Reef Island Rescue Initiative for five islands to become climate change "arks" to build a string of resilience along the 2300km-long World Heritage-listed Reef.