Environmental and social safeguards
Safeguards provide WWF with the ability to manage environmental and social risks within WWF field-based work, deliver better outcomes and contribute to the social well-being of local communities where WWF operates. Our 9 standards ensure consistent application of safeguards across the entire WWF network. Read them on this page.
In June 2019 the WWF Network Executive Team agreed to adopt the Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework (ESSF) to ensure consistent comprehensive application of safeguards across the entire WWF network. The safeguards were designed as a risk mitigation management system but also to increase the positive impacts of our field-based work from the perspective of all stakeholders, including communities.
- A framework document, first publicly posted in August 2019, that includes policy commitments and procedural detail on implementation
- Nine safeguard standards, each dedicated to a specific safeguard topic
- A tiered network-wide grievance mechanism which strengthens existing arrangements to address and resolve complaints
- A response protocol to immediately escalate any complaints relating to human rights
What are our safeguards?
WWF's Environmental and Social Safeguards are designed to ensure our conservation and regeneration efforts do not have unintended adverse social or environmental impacts and protect human rights. They form a set of standards, policies, mechanisms, and compliance systems that govern how our field-based activities are carried out. They ensure a consistency of approach across the entire WWF network.
The core elements are:
- One Set of Standards for all WWF field-based work
- Makes clear who is responsible
- Ensures additional measures in high-risk contexts
- A centralized unit and training for support
- Monitoring and checkpoints are part of the project development cycle
- Independent ombudsperson ensures impartiality and credibility
- Applied at landscape/seascape level to ensure efficiency & effectiveness
The E&S Safeguards Framework document
This document provides an overview, at both policy and procedural level, on how WWF manages the environmental and social risks of its place-based work to deliver better conservation outcomes and enhance the social well-being of communities in the places where we operate. The framework describes the linkage between social policies and safeguards and outlines the standards, roles and responsibilities, processes, monitoring and compliance systems that govern how field-based activities are undertaken. It also outlines WWF's public disclosure commitments for the landscapes and seascapes where it works.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT
We will assess E&S risk, understand its implications, and seek to avoid, minimise or mitigate it.
This standard describes WWF’s process for identifying potential environmental and social risks and beneﬁts.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
We engage and work with stakeholders
This standard ensures that WWF is committed to meaningful, eﬀective, and informed stakeholder engagement with potentially impacted communities in the design and implementation of activities within landscapes.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON GRIEVANCE MECHANISMS
We take all complaints and concerns seriously and seek their resolution
This standard prescribes how affected peoples can raise concerns about how they are being impacted by WWF activities and seek their resolution.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON RESTRICTION OF ACCESS AND RESETTLEMENT
We don't want anyone to be unfairly penalized due to a restriction of access
This standard helps WWF identify and respond to restriction of access, proposed resettlement and economic displacement or other economic impacts associated with WWF activities.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Indigenous Peoples are key partners and consent-holders
This standard ensures that all due consideration is taken in WWF activities that could potentially aﬀect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including free, prior, and informed consent.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON COMMUNITY HEALTH & SECURITY
Communities should feel safe, secure and their well-being protected
This standard makes sure a review of potential consequences to communities’ health and safety are adequately addressed, including consequences of engagement with rangers.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON PROTECTION OF NATURAL HABITATS
Where we support projects that change land use, we always ensure the protection of natural habitats
This standard ensures mitigation of any potential negative impact on natural habitats.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON PEST MANAGEMENT
We support safe pest management in projects by rejecting and excluding the use of harmful techniques or products
This standard ensures the review and proper use of pesticides and fertilizers in order to mitigate impacts on communities and natural habitats.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
STANDARD ON CULTURAL RESOURCES
We protect and respect cultural resources - tangible, intangible and natural
This WWF standard ensures that cultural resources - tangible, natural and intangible are appropriately preserved and their destruction or damage is avoided.DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
WWF’s Environmental and Social Safeguards and Social Policies are extensive and cover many different topics. Below you can find six topics that are frequently searched for.
Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent
The rights of Indigenous Peoples to give or withhold their consent to actions that will affect them.