In spite of the rapid increase in the illegal trade of rhinoceros horn in the past decade,
that has led to the potential demise of a specie, solutions have proven difficult to come
by in both literature and in practice regarding effective means to hinder, decrease or
stop this illegal trade.
The purpose of the current research is to contribute to solving this challenge through
framing the illegal poaching of rhino horn as a social dilemma that could be solved by
focussing on solutions from the demand side perspective.
The research posits that large corporates can use partnership with social causes as
an avenue to attain company objectives simultaneously when changing unsustainable
behaviour; in this instance the destruction of a species through the rhino horn trade
for traditional medicine. Specifically, the research questioned the probability of a focus
on changing the behaviour. The research proposed that a sponsor enter into the
traditional medicinal market with a scientifically endorsed substitute product from the
sponsor company with the objective of changing the demand/behaviour. The
suggestion to partner with this cause is not merely part of a passive corporate’s social
responsibility to re-invest into society alone, but can also be viewed as part of a
strategic intent to attain company objectives.
The results found that partnership attractiveness and viability as an investment
opportunity for the sponsor company primarily needs to be aligned to a business case
by the sponsee, thereby increasing the attractiveness for the sponsor to consider. The
need to consider the “business case” of this type of partnership also emphasised the
importance of including partnerships as part of the company’s promotional mix and to
be strategically considered by the sponsor company.
In conclusion the study recommends further research into the sponsor company’s
reluctance to enter into partnerships where the cause is deeply rooted in cultural
beliefs and behaviours such as is the case in rhino horn consumption, as well as
modern beliefs concerning status and materialism. Further recommendations include
researching in the countries of origin regarding the consumption of rhino horns, namely
Vietnam and China, to gain insight and access into the cultural dynamics of behaviour.