‘Shark sponsorship’ – Giti Tire and Enki Tan’s passion
Many tyre manufacturers sponsor football teams, but Giti Tire has its own whale shark. This unorthodox sponsorship placement arose from the company’s partnership with Conservation International (CI), a relationship that dates back a number of years and closely entwined with Enki Tan’s passion for environmental conservation.
Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, and Giti is a 4.75 metre specimen. Tagged by Conservation International as part of its preservation efforts, an undertaking supported by Giti Tire for the past six years, the activities of Giti the whale shark can be monitored online at the CI website. A total of 19 sharks are being tracked at present, including specimens called Mr. Casper, Dipsy and – perhaps named by Australian lovers of marine life – Craigo and Bruce.
An estimated 70 million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup and other uses. Giti Tire states that it is proud to join Conservation International in its efforts to protect marine life and other environmental causes through educational and financial support.
As chairman of Giti Tire, Enki Tan jokingly refers to himself as a tyre salesman, but his passion is environmental conservation. An inveterate explorer and avid scuba diver, Tan has a deep personal commitment to environmental conservation, therefore he leapt at the chance when tapped to join the board of Conservation International in 2004.
“I find CI’s approach to be very innovative and very appropriate for today’s environment,” he shares. Giti Tire comments that CI’s dedication to sound science appealed to Tan’s empirical business sensibilities, and the organisation’s emphasis on human welfare and partnership appealed to his pragmatic side. “These issues are very complex and involve multiple parties,” adds Tan. “And the human welfare aspect always needs to be taken care of. Incentive structures need to be spelled out, otherwise the conservation will not be sustainable.”