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Market Transformation

The term Market Transformation was originally coined to promote energy-efficiency and achieve new patterns of market behaviour as expressed in the definition “ the strategic process of intervening in a market to create lasting change in market behaviour by removing identified barriers or exploiting opportunities to accelerate the adoption of all cost effective energy efficiency as a matter of standard practice“ (NEEA, 2013).

More recently, it has been used to label interventions in other markets, notably global commodities that were seen to be key to solving some of the planet’s most pressing environmental and social issues (Clay, 2010). The foremost protagonist for this type of Market Transformation is Jason Clay, vice-president of WWF, who has written and evangelized about the concept (Clay, 2010). WWF has been instrumental in the implementation of several of such schemes, including the Forest Stewardship Council FSC and the Marine Stewardship Council MSC (WWF, 2013).

The process is invariably based on multi-stakeholder engagement and the mechanism used is certification for sustainability standards, which has now become a common practice in the food sector and for some major commodities. The trend of introducing Eco-labels and standards can be traced back to various social movements from the 1980’s such as Fairtrade in Europe and Rainforest Alliance in the U.S.A. (Fairtrade, 2013).

When related to Tiger Conservation, the most relevant of these are Sustainable Palm Oil (WWF, 2013) and Sustainable Timber (WWF, 2013), both of which impact top tiger range countries with substantial tropical forest cover, such as Malaysia,Indonesia and Thailand.

The central concept for certification of both Palm Oil and Timber is that of a High Conservation Value Forest HCVF, which refers to “ forests of outstanding and critical importance due to their important environmental or social values” (FSC, 2013, p.2). Once HCVFs have been identified and assessed by independent auditors, they provide a platform on which to base any decisions about management and monitoring of the land. When these decisions have been implemented to the required standards, then the commodity can be certified as sustainable (WWF, 2013).


In her social enterprise Biodiversity Business, Barbara combines her lifelong experience in marketing communications with her passion for animals. Her mission is Communication for Conservation: saving endangered species and their habitats.

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