The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization for the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in the United States and Canada. It is the world's largest independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 90 countries, supporting 100 conservation and environmental projects around the world. It is a charity, with approximately 9% of its funding coming from voluntary donations by private individuals and businesses.
The group says its mission is "to halt and reverse the destruction of our environment". 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 organization runs more than 20 field projects worldwide in any given year.
The organization was formed as a charitable trust on September 11, 1961, in Morges, Switzerland, under the name World Wildlife Fund. It was an initiative of Julian Huxley and Max Nicholson, who had thirty years experience of linking progressive intellectuals with big business interests through the Political and Economic Planning think tank.
In its deed of foundation, the organization stated its original mission to be the "conservation of world fauna, flora, forests, landscape, water, soils and other natural resources by the management of land, research and investigation, and publicity, coordination of efforts, cooperation with other interested parties and all other appropriate means.
In the last few years, the organization set up offices and operations around the world. The initial focus of its activities was 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, and the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
In 1986, the organization changed its name to World Wide Fund for Nature, retaining the WWF initials, to better reflect the scope of its activities. However, it continues to operate under the original name in the United States and Canada.
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. Their own Corporate Club provides promotional opportunities for companies to use the WWF name and logo as a promotional tool. Currently WWF is working with Coca-Cola, Nokia, Canon, and others to make conservation commitments.
|1962-1976||HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands|
|1976–1981||John H Loudon|
|1981–1996||HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh|
|1996–1999||Syed Babar Ali|
|2000–2001||Hon. Sara Morrison|
|2001–present||Chief Emeka Anyaoku|
In the early 1970s, Prince Bernhard and Prince Philip, 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.
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 the fall of 1979. The conservation organization claimed that the wrestling company had violated a 1994 agreement regarding international use of the WWF initials.
On 10 August 2001, a British court ruled in favor of the World Wide Fund for Nature. The World Wrestling Federation filed an appeal in October 2001. However, on 5 May 2002, the World Wrestling Federation changed its Web address from wwf.com to WWE.com, 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 the wrestling company prevailed. A subsequent request to overturn by the World Wide Fund for Nature was dismissed by the English Court of Appeals on 28 June 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, the wrestling company was obliged 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 spoken and visual references to "WWF" in its library of video footage (which spans several decades).