2018 was a landmark year for Paul Sykes with the success of a Greenpeace campaign, initiated and funded by him, designed to stop forest destruction for palm oil and save orangutans. We can educate and empower people to make a difference and it was this philosophy that saw him invest £1 million in the hugely successful Greenpeace global campaign in 2018.
The project, which was initiated by Paul Sykes and Greenpeace, culminates in the form of a 90 second animation that highlights how orangutans are being pushed to the brink of extinction by deforestation for palm oil. Ultimately designed to ramp up pressure on brands to keep their promise and end destruction of the rainforests.
Voiced by Dame Emma Thompson and backed by a host of high-profile celebrities including Sykes close friend Bryan Adams, the campaign took aim at big brands in this powerful story of baby Rang-tan as she causes mischief in a little girl’s bedroom. Just as the girl is about to banish her, she asks Rang-Tan what brought her there. Rang-tan’s memories are harrowing. They show her forest home destroyed, trees burning, huge machines hacking others to the ground and her mother lying injured.
Hands on throughout the complete creative process, Paul was determined to produce a campaign that would give this urgent message the global profile it needed. He believed that people needed to be shocked into seeing what’s happening with this Earth’s precious rainforests and species within it. No one could have imagined the campaign’s impact. To date, the video has been viewed 65 million times and continues to grow with the campaign being covered in news media across the globe. As some corporations begin to position themselves as taking a stand against the use of a product that is causing huge amounts of deforestation and environmental damage, the real winner here is Paul Sykes who can rest assured that his funding is without a doubt delivering a powerful global message, whatever the route to market. Paul Sykes’ idea of the character Rang-Tan educating the next generation of environmental advocates is also becoming a reality with a series of national children’s books, due for publication in autumn 2019.
For the last 3 years Paul Sykes has been supporting Jersey Zoo with their Durrell Conservation Symposium. The event which takes place bi-annually aims to highlight Durrell’s mission to save species from extinction and the global impact. With Paul’s support, the Durrell overseas field teams, from six countries are able to come together to share knowledge and discuss key developments within the field of wildlife conservation.
MARIE CURIE & SIR RANULPH FIENNES
Paul Sykes met Sir Ranulph Fiennes at a speaking engagement some 16 years ago. Perhaps an unlikely friendship for one was the Eton educated ex-SAS officer, the other the self-made entrepreneur and son of a Barnsley miner, but it became immediately apparent that they would become great mates and lifelong collaborators.
Paul Sykes has since supported all of Sir Ranulph’s expeditions. From the gruelling six-day race across the Sahara to climbing to the Everest summit, climbing the Eiger’s notorious North Face and crossing Antarctica.
There is no doubt the ‘world’s greatest living explorer’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Paul Sykes have made change, for together they have helped raise over £20 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care over the last 20 years.
The Global Canopy Programme was introduced 10 years ago, Paul Sykes was one of the primary funders as he felt that their approach of focusing on the production, trade and financing of the key commodities for agricultural expansion into tropical forests was a sagacious move by their team. His donations have helped provide data, insight for the companies, investors and even governments who are working to create positive action on the deforestation issues we face. By targeting billions of dollars of investment and lending which contribute to destroying forests and other vital natural capital, they are highlighting new opportunities for sustainable investment.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES ENVIRONMENT FUND
For the past five years Paul Sykes has been supporting the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund. This non-profit company was set up to support sustainable initiatives to promote the preservation of the beauty and natural value of the islands and is chaired by his friend and fellow environmentalist Bryan Adams.
Thanks to his generous donation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the first islands in the Caribbean to introduce a total ban on the killing of sea turtles. He also contributed to the ‘One Drop in the Ocean’ campaign which involved cleaning up marine debris from local beaches and creating art from it, raising awareness about plastic pollution.
NATIONAL TRUST JERSEY
Paul Sykes has supported the National Trust in Jersey since his arrival on the island. Committed to protecting the many distinctive qualities of Jersey, such as their dramatic coastline, their rich marine environment, the distinctive vernacular architecture and hedge-lined country lanes, he has become an avid supporter for the National Trust. With unsustainable development, creeping urbanisation and short term economic policies, the wildlife is in serious decline, the health of our environment is at risk and thus the tranquillity is becoming increasingly elusive. Through vigilance, sustainable management, awareness promotion of Jersey’s countryside and historic environment, we are increasing the value of our local economy.
The Brownlee Foundation was set up by triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee after their successes at the 2012 Olympics. Their aim was to encourage children to enjoy sport and lead and active lifestyle. Inspiring, encouraging and providing opportunity for children resonated with Paul Sykes and as such he has supported his friends Alistair and Jonny in the pursuit of their philanthropic endeavours with significant donations. To date, over 20,000 children have taken part in the Brownlee Foundation mini triathlon, with teachers confirming that such events have had an immensely positive impact on the participating children.
For years, Paul Sykes played an active part in his local community in Ripon, North Yorkshire, with his donations having helped save local schools and sports facilities. He funded the Ripon improvement trust which restored Ripon City Square. He donated around £1.2m for a new entrance, doors and multiple restoration projects for Ripon Cathedral. In collaboration with HRH Prince of Wales he made a £1m donation to fund the restoration of Harrogate’s landmark Royal Hall.
PAUL SYKES UROLOGY UNIT, LEEDS.
Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, Paul Sykes pledged to build a specialist urology unit at St. James Hospital, as a thank you to the doctors who discovered his condition.
The £1.5m centre, completed in 2003, provided 11 consulting and assessment rooms, providing dedicated treatment for urology conditions including prostate cancer. It brought all the services under one roof instead of being across the hospital site. This department alone is presently dealing with about 20,000 outpatient attendances a year.