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World Wide Fund for Nature
FoundedApril 29, 1961
(First office opened in September, 1961 in Morges, Switzerland)
FounderJulian Huxley[1]
Max Nicholson
Peter Scott
Guy Mountfort
TypeCharitable trust
Area served
World wide
MethodLobbying, research, consultancy
Key people
HE Chief Emeka Anyaoku
447 million (2008)[2]

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States. It is the world's largest independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 90 countries, supporting around 1300[4] conservation and environmental projects around the world. It is a charity, with approximately 60% of its funding coming from voluntary donations by private individuals. 45% of the fund's income comes from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.[2]

The group says its mission is "to halt and reverse the destruction of our environment".[5] Currently, much of its work focuses on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world's biodiversity: forests, freshwater ecosystems, and oceans and coasts. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, pollution and climate change.


The idea for a fund on behalf of endangered animals was initially proposed by Victor Stolan to Julian Huxley in response to articles he published in the Observer. This proposal led Julian Huxley to put Victor Stolan in contact with Max Nicholson, a person that had had thirty years experience of linking progressive intellectuals with big business interests through the Political and Economic Planning think tank.[1][6][7] Max Nicholson thought up the name of the organization. WWF was conceived on 29 April 1961, under the name of World Wildlife Fund, and its first office was opened on 11 September that same year in Morges, Switzerland. Its establishment marked with the signing of the founding document called Morges Manifesto[8] that lays out the formulation ideas of its establishment.

“...They need above all money, to carry out missions and to meet conservation emergencies buy buying land where wildlife treasures are threatened, money, for example, to pay guardians of wildlife refuges ...for educations among those who would care... For sending experts to danger spots and training... Making it all possible that their needs are met before its too late.” -Morges Manifesto

WWF has set up offices and operations around the world. It originally worked by fundraising and providing grants to existing non-governmental organizations, based on the best-available scientific knowledge and with an initial focus on the protection of endangered species. As more resources became available, its operations expanded into other areas such as the preservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of natural resources, the reduction of pollution, and climate change. The organization also began to run its own conservation projects and campaigns, and by the 1980s started to take a more strategic approach to its conservation activities.

In 1986, the organization changed its name to World Wide Fund for Nature, to better reflect the scope of its activities, retaining the WWF initials. However, it continues to operate under the original name in the United States and Canada.[9]

In the 1990s, WWF revised its mission to: “Stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:

• conserving the world's biological diversity

• ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable

• promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.”

WWF scientists and many others identified 238 ecoregions that represent the world's most biologically outstanding terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats, based on a worldwide biodiversity analysis which the organization says was the first of its kind.[10] In the early 2000s, its work was focused on a subset of these ecoregions, in the areas of forest, freshwater and marine habitat conservation, endangered species conservation, climate change, and the elimination of the most toxic chemicals.

We shan't save all we should like to, but we shall save a great deal more than if we had never tried. — Sir Peter Scott [11]

In 1996, the organisation obtained general consultative status from UNESCO.

The Panda Symbol

The well-known panda logo of WWF originated from a panda named Chi-chi that was transferred from the Beijing Zoo to the London Zoo in the same year of the establishment of WWF. As the only giant panda residing in the Western area at that time, along with its physical features and status as an endangered species, panda is seen to serve the need of a strong recognizable symbol of the organization. Moreover, the organization also needs an animal that would have an impact in black and white printing. The logo was then designed by Sir Peter Scott from the preliminary sketches made by a Scottish naturalist, Gerald Watterson.[12][13]

Current conservation approach

WWF's current strategy for achieving its mission specifically focuses on restoring populations of 36 species (species or species groups that are important for their ecosystem or to people, including elephants, tunas, whales, dolphins and porpoises, and bigleaf mahogany), conserving 35 globally important ecoregions around the world (including the Arctic, the Amazon rainforest, the Congo Basin and the Coral Triangle), and reducing people’s ecological footprint in 6 areas (carbon emissions, cropland, grazing land, fishing, forestry and water).

The organization also works on a number of global issues driving biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of natural resources, including finance, business practices, laws, and consumption choices. Local offices also work on national or regional issues.[14]

WWF works with a large number of different groups to achieve its goals, including other NGOs, governments, business, investment banks, scientists, fishers, farmers and local communities. It also undertakes public campaigns to influence decision makers, and seeks to educate people on how to live in a more environmentally friendly manner.


WWF publishes the Living Planet Index in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. Along with their ecological footprint calculations the index is used to produce a two yearly Living Planet Report to give an overview of the impact of human activity on the world.[15]

The organization also regularly publishes reports, fact sheets and other documents on issues related to its work, in order to raise awareness and provide information to policy and decision makers.[16]

Work with Governments

The organization works with governments as collaborator and lobbyist.[17]

Policy Making

National and international law plays an important role in determining how habitats and resources are managed and used. Laws and regulations become one of the organisation’s global priorities. The organisation convinces and helps governments and other political bodies to adopt, enforce, strengthen and/or change policies, guidelines and laws that affect biodiversity and natural resource use. It also ensures the governments to consent and/ or keeps their commitment to international instruments relating to the protection of biodiversity and natural resources [18][19]

Work with business

WWF has been accused by a number of environmental groups and campaigners, such as Corporate Watch and PR Watch of being too close to businesses to campaign objectively.[20][21] WWF says that it works with companies to help them reduce their impact on the environment. Examples of companies with which it has such partnerships include Coca-Cola, Lafarge and IKEA.[22] It also has a Corporate Club that provides promotional opportunities for companies to use the WWF name and logo as a promotional tool.

Previous donors have included Chevron, Exxon and Telekids (each donating more than $50,000 in 1989), Philip Morris, Mobil, and Morgan Guaranty Trust.[citation needed] WWF received about $7 million from corporations in 2007, about 4.3% of its revenues for the year.[23]


Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld in 1942.
Presidents 1962–present[24]
Years Name
1962–1976 HRH Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
1976–1981 John H. Loudon
1981–1996 HRH Prince Philip of Great-Britain, Duke of Edinburgh
1996–1999 Syed Babar Ali
2000 Ruud Lubbers
2000–2001 Hon. Sara Morrison
2001–2010 Chief Emeka Anyaoku
from 2010 Yolanda Kakabadse

1001 Club

Main article: 1001 Club

In the early 1970s, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, together with a few associates, set up the 1001 Nature Trust, its purpose being to cover the administrative and fund-raising aspects of the WWF. The club garnered 1001 members who each contributed $10,000 to the trust.[11]

WWE Abbreviation Dispute

See also: World Wrestling Entertainment § Name dispute

In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature sued the World Wrestling Federation (now named World Wrestling Entertainment) for unfair trade practices. Both parties had shared the initials "WWF" since 1979. The conservation organization claimed that the wrestling company had violated a 1994 agreement regarding international use of the WWF initials.[25][26]

On August 10, 2001, an English court ruled in favor of the World Wide Fund for Nature. The World Wrestling Federation filed an appeal in October 2001. However, on May 5, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation changed its Web address from to, and replaced every "WWF" reference on the existing site with "WWE", as a prelude to changing the company's name to "World Wrestling Entertainment." Its stock ticker also switched from WWF to WWE.

Abandonment of the initialism did not end the two organizations' legal conflict. Later in 2002, the World Wide Fund for Nature petitioned the court for $360 million in damages, but was not successful. A subsequent request to overturn by the World Wide Fund for Nature was dismissed by the English Court of Appeals on June 28, 2007. In 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment won a limited decision which permitted them to continue marketing certain pre-existing products with the abandoned WWF logo. However, WWE was mandated to issue newly branded merchandise such as apparel, action figures, video games, and DVDs with the "WWE" initials. Additionally, the court order required the company to remove both auditory and visual references to "WWF" in its library of video footage outside of the United Kingdom.

Cambodia controversy

In June 2009, Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission for Conservation and Development of the Mekong River Dolphins Eco-tourism Zone, charged that the WWF had misrepresented the danger of extinction of the Mekong Dolphin in order to boost fundraising.[27] He called the WWF report unscientific and harmful to the Cambodian government. He also threatened the Cambodian branch of WWF with suspension unless they meet with him to discuss his charges.[28] Touch Seang Tana later said he would not go forward with false-information charges, and would not make any attempt to prevent WWF from continuing its work in Cambodia.[29]

Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)

The RTRS was founded in 2005 by the WWF, Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill and a few other parties. Its goal is a label for 'responsible' soy. In 2009 the RTRS declared Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready soy to be 'responsible'. According to the WWF this doesn't mean they support this kind of soy. A relevant reason is that deforestation doesn't prevent RR GM soy from being labeled 'responsible'.[30][31]

Entering the RTRS has been a controversial move for the WWF. Earlier reports and statements by the WWF indicate their initial strong opposition to genetically modified organisms, while now the organization is interested in the process of labelling Roundup Ready Genetically modified soy as 'responsible'.[32][33] In 2009 there was a protest against this move at the WWF office located in the Netherlands and several NGO's (Friends of the Earth, Fern, and ASEED) have criticized the WWF for their involvement in The RTRS.[34][35]

In 2010 a group consisting of scientists and experts published a report criticizing the labelling process and stating their objections to the cultivation of genetically modified Roundup Ready soy and the use of glyphosate (Roundup®) herbicide.[36]

WWF in music

No One's Gonna Change Our World was a charity album released in 1969 for the benefit of the WWF.

Peter Rose and Anne Conlon are music theatre writers, well known for their environmental musicals for children, who were commissioned by WWF-UK to write several environmental musicals as part of an education plan. Some were narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and broadcast on television in numerous countries.

Environmentally Sound: A Select Anthology of Songs Inspired by the Earth is a benefit album released in 2006 for WWF-Philippines, featuring artists that included Up Dharma Down, Radioactive Sago Project, Cynthia Alexander, and Joey Ayala.[37]

Notable Programs and Campaigns

Debt-for-Nature Swap

Earth Hour

Notable employees

See also


  1. ^ a b WWF in the 60's
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ Finland - Organization of the World Wildlife Fund
  6. ^ Kate Kellaway (7 November 2010). How the Observer brought the WWF into being The Observer.
  7. ^ Scott, P. (1965). The launching of a new ark: first report of the President and Trustees of the World Wildlife Fundan international foundation for saving the world's wildlife and wild places; 1961-1964. Collins
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ WWF quick facts
  10. ^ About global ecoregions
  11. ^ a b WWF Finland - History of WWF International Template:En icon
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ What does WWF do?
  15. ^ Living Planet Report
  16. ^ WWF publications
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "PANDA-ING TO THE SOYA BARONS?". Corporate Watch. 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  21. ^ Fred Pearce (2009-04-02). "Ikea – you can't build a green reputation with a flatpack DIY manual". Guardian UK. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  22. ^ Changing the nature of business
  23. ^ Marc Gunther (2008-11-14). "Corporate ties bedevil green groups". Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  24. ^ WWF Presidents of the Organization over its history
  25. ^ InternetNews Realtime IT News – Wildlife Fund Pins Wrestling Federation
  26. ^ Text of the 1994 legal agreement with the World Wrestling Federation
  27. ^ "Mekong dophins dispute". Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  28. ^ "Cambodia threatens to suspend WWF after dolphin report". Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  29. ^ "Authors of report on dolphins will not face charges official says". Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  30. ^ Newsletter Toxic Soy nr. 2 2009.
  31. ^ PANDA-ING TO THE SOYA BARONS? Corporate Watch 2009
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ "The Harmonics of being Environmentally Sound". World Wildlife Fund - Philippines. 18 Autust 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-30. ((cite web)): Check date values in: |date= (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)