WWF, is it a wrestling group or a conservation organization?

There were years of litigation regarding the World Wrestling Federation and the World Wildlife Fund, with the latter winning out in the end. Though they’d both been known as the “WWF” since 1979, the wrestlers eventually lost the match and changed their name to WWE in 2002. The transformation was total, from the company’s website to its stock ticker, which changed from WWF to WWE. 

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature is of course much more than just a name dispute. This international non-governmental organization is known all over the world for its work to preserve wilderness areas and to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment. 

The WWF focuses its campaigns around the following six areas: food, fresh water, climate, wildlife, oceans, and forests.

Biggest Conservation Organization

The WWF is the largest conservation organization on the planet, with work in more than one hundred countries and an army of more than five million supporters. These resources support almost thirteen hundred environmental and conservation projects each year. 

In the last quarter-century, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature has invested more than one billion dollars into twelve thousand conservation projects. 

More than half of its funds come from bequests and from individual donors. Around twenty percent comes from government sources, including the DFID, USAID, and the World Bank. About eight percent of the WWF’s dollars come from corporate sponsors. 

Building the Future

The goal of the WWF is to slow and stop the degradation of the natural environment around the globe, working to build a planetary ecosystem that allows humanity and nature to live harmoniously. 

Every two years, the WWF publishes The Living Planet. This gives information on ecological footprints and an index of ways that large and small companies and groups are impacting the environment. The Living Planet Report has proven to be one of the WWF’s most powerful marketing tools, as it highlights a whole host of top companies and individuals. The press surrounding this publication has helped to forward much of the WWF’s international agenda. 

Other high profile campaigns include the Debt for Nature Swap and the Earth Hour campaign. 

Corporate Criticism

One major area of criticism that the WWF has received surrounds its alleged ties to corporations. 

Corporate Watch, an organization that follows international organizations, has accused the WWF of having too close of a relationship with its corporate donors. 

WWF partners with companies like IKEA, Coco-Cola, Lafarge, and Carlos Slim’s, saying that its influence is pushing them towards a better relationship with the environment. In 2010, the organization got more than eighty million dollars from these giants.

The criticism has gone so far as to spill over into a 2012 book by German journalist Wilfried Huissmann called The Silence of the Pandas. Though the book was a bestseller in Germany, it was banned in Britain. 

The WWF denies all claims that it’s too involved with corporations. 

Founding the Conservation Foundation 

The WWF was founded as its precursor organization, The Conservation Foundation, in 1948. Fairfield Osborn, Charles Sutherland Elton, Aldo Leopold, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Paul Sears, and Carl Sauer were founding members of this affiliate of the New York Zoological Society. 

The group would go on to support a great deal of the research that went into Rachel Carson’s seminal environmental text Silent Spring. 

Since its inception, this environmental group has grown dramatically to be one of the most recognizable conservation organizations on earth.