World Wildlife Fund | WWF

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WWF was the original acronym for the “World Wildlife Fund”, an international environmental organization. WWF International is the international umbrella organisation for the affiliated national organizations. It is a member of the Big Green.

As the organization diversified its focus beyond wildlife and into broader environmental issues it changed its name in 1986 to World Wide Fund For Nature. As an international organisation, however, agreeing on a name change required the approval of its national organisations. The national divisions of World Wildlife Fund in the United States and Canada refused to change their name. However, after the resolution of a legal battle with the U.S-based World Wrestling Federation, the universally adopted name became WWF.

While it is one of the largest international environmental organisations, in many countries WWF is viewed as amongst the most conservative environmental groups.




Various WWF Branches

Environmental Criticism

The WWF has been criticised for being sponsored by a number of industrial companies that are actively involved in deforestation and other environmental abuses. In December 2002, WWF appointed Linda Coady, a former Weyerhaeuser Co executive to the position of vice-president of its Pacific regional office [1].

From the same article:

But the panda cash machine isn’t the group’s only source of money. The World Wildlife Fund also rakes in millions from corporations, including Alcoa, Citigroup, the Bank of America, Kodak, J.P. Morgan, the Bank of Tokyo, Philip Morris, Waste Management and DuPont. They even offer an annual conservation award funded by and named after the late oil baron J. Paul Getty. It hawks its own credit card and showcases its own online boutique. As a result, WWF’s budget has swelled to over $100 million a year and its not looking back. [2]

See J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize.

A recent investigation by The Unsuitablog [3] found that WWF were unwilling to commit that they would pull out of a rainforest funding agreement with the global bank HSBC if it transpired that HSBC had renaged on their own environmental policies. The value of the agreement is estimated to be around £1 million per year.


“In 1961, a limited number of organizations around the world – such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and The Conservation Foundation – were trying to meet conservation needs, but were desperately short of funds.

“A small but influential group of Europeans—scientists, naturalists, business and political leaders—rose to the occasion: on September 11, 1961 World Wildlife Fund was formed and soon set up shop at IUCN’s headquarters in Morges, Switzerland. H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands became the organization’s first president.

“Several leaders arranged the key organizational meeting for the new venture. Those involved include noted biologist and African wildlife enthusiast Sir Julian Huxley, IUCN vice president Sir Peter Scott and director-general of the British Nature Conservancy E. M. Nicholson. The decision was made to establish World Wildlife Fund as an international fundraising organization that will work in collaboration with existing conservation groups to bring substantial financial support to the conservation movement on a worldwide scale. The new organization will raise funds through national appeals and, using the best scientific advice available from IUCN and other sources, channel the money to appropriate organizations. The first call for broad support was the Morges Manifesto, signed in 1961 by 16 of the world’s leading conservationists. The Morges Manifesto stated that while the expertise to protect the world environment existed, the financial support to achieve this protection did not, and that these conditions supported the development of a nongovernmental organization that would work to protect the world’s environment.

“H.R.H. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, became president of the British National Appeal, the first national organization in the World Wildlife Fund family. The second national organization to be formed was World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF) – the U.S. appeal. Incorporated in the District of Columbia on December 1, 1961, WWF named Dwight D. Eisenhower its President of Honor. Ira N. Gabrielson and Russell E. Train were the first president and vice president, respectively.” [1]

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  1. ? History, WWF, accessed October 5, 2008.

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