WWF partnerships

and conflicts of interest with polluting industries

You would think that a “noble” organization like WWF would have strong ethical values and make sure not to associate with industries that are causing the very same climate and ecological crisis they are committed to fight… NOT QUITE THE CASE!

From extractivist industries ravaging the Global South ecosystems to extract resources, to financial institutions investing billions in fossil fuel, from big-pharma to polluting agribusinesses devastating communities and biodiversity across the world, WWF managed to associate with them all!

These companies fund the WWF, but there are further financial links: the big charitable foundations that finance many of the corporate conservation NGOs have capital that has usually been donated by large corporations and/or is invested in polluting industries to get returns. This ties the interests of the foundations to those of the industries they derive their money from, thus leading the foundations to shape the work of conservation NGOs in the direction of favouring corporate interests.

  • WWF UK - Royal Caribbean Cruises, Coca-Cola, Domtar (Paper and coal company)

  • WWF Canada - Coca-Cola, Domtar

  • H&M (fast fashion)

  • IKEA (disposable furniture)

  • Nissan (automobiles)

  • Walmart (mass retail)

  • WWF Global - HSBC

  • Toyota Motor Corporation (automobile)

  • Bank of America (huge funder of coal projects)

“For example, both WWF and TNC have partnered with Avon to plant forests in Brazil and Indonesia with the proceeds from selling products like water bottles, bracelets, and T-shirts. Avon has also donated millions to both organizations. The big NGOs gain revenue while the big companies, like Avon, can look like good global citizens. However, critics contend that cause marketing sends the wrong message, glorifying consumerism and materialism at a time when most environmental thinkers believe global society needs a new creed.”

-Mongabay “How big donors and corporations shape conservation goals” Jeremy Hance, 3 May 2016

“WWF International has received millions of dollars from its links with governments and business. Global corporations such as Cocal-Cola, Shell, Mondanto, HSBC, Cargill, BP, Alcoa and Marine Harvest have all benefited from the group’s green image only to carry on their business as usual”

-The Guardian “WWF International accused of 'selling its soul' to corporations” John Vidal, 4 Oct 2014

“Obviously, I think partnering with WWF, in particular, is very attractive for companies…I think there is an interest in being associated with the WWF brand, as well as the expertise of the organization…and its experience in many of the countries where these companies operate”Former WWF employee Leo Bottrill

Former WWF employee, Leo Bottrill


WF is a willing service provider to the giants of the food and energy sectors, supplying industry with a green, progressive image … On the one hand it protects the forest; on the other it helps corporations lay claim to land not previously in their grasp. WWF helps sell the idea of voluntary resettlement to indigenous peoples”

Wilfried Huismann, award-winning investigative journalist, author of Pandaleaks

WWF Investment in Extremely Polluting Projects

  1. In 2008 WWF invested more than US$2 million with a private equity firm called Denham Capital. A glance at Denham Capital’s website leaves absolutely no doubt about where its money goes: oil and gas, mining, and international energy projects.” REDD Monitor, 2018
  2. “The WWF also owns stakes in two other private equity concerns that are invested in fossil fuels, Marsh said. They are not disclosed in the Paradise Papers. Marsh declined to name them, but said the three stakes consist of 0.4 percent of its portfolio, roughly $800,000” “Leaked documents show fossil fuel holdings of green non-profits” May 17, 2018
  3. After assuring it wouldn’t happen anymore, in 2014 WWF was found to hold coal and tar sands-related stocks in Deutsche Bank. CNBC News, May 14 2014, Laurence Delevigne

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