Our ambition

WWF has been working on nature conservation and regeneration for 60 years, alongside people and communities around the world. For us, healthy ecosystems are deeply linked to peoples' lives, livelihoods and well-being. We believe lasting impact can only be achieved by partnering with communities, including respect for, and promotion of their rights. We recognize our limits as a conservation organization and we are continuously trying to improve the way we work to deliver greater impact. Our social policies and safeguards contribute to this ambition.

© James Morgan / WWF-US

Help us to build a better future for people and nature

Through this consultation, we want to engage in a meaningful conversation about our work and the safeguards and social commitments that we have in place to guide it. We have worked to structure this site in a way that makes it easy to navigate and find the information that most interests you. The feedback form has been designed to capture a diversity of perspectives, from ‘passing interest’ to those who have professional expertise and years of practical experience.

In this portal, we share our revised social policies and environmental and social safeguard drafts. Starting with an overview below, we will then guide you into the detail, allowing you to explore specific topics of interest, to finally submitting your feedback through the online survey.

The consultation will run until June 30th, 2021.

More about the consultation
How we work: WWF values

While we seek to codify our core commitments in standards, policies and related documentation, we also rely on staff living our values in the way they work day-to-day. These are to work with courage, integrity, respect and collaboration. 



© Nikky Lenstra & Eva Peet / Fronteer - Assets by Storyset

Understanding WWF’s Social Policies & Safeguards

WWF has long recognized that planetary health and community well-being are interlinked at the heart of sustainable development. Our social policies ensure we help promote and respect human rights, encourage good governance and protect the vulnerable in all WWF activities. For our field-based work (the landscapes and seascapes where WWF is active), we implement these policies through the environmental and social safeguards. 

Download overview
© WWF / Troy Fleece
WWF’s Human Rights Policy Statement

WWF is committed to respecting and promoting internationally proclaimed human rights as contained in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other applicable international and regional instruments. We commit to respecting customary rights and additional rights under national law, provided they are not inconsistent with international human rights principles. The implementation of our human rights commitments is guided by seven principles that ensure a human-rights-based approach across our work. Read on to explore the full human rights policy statement.

Read the Human rights statement

© Karine Aigner

Social Policies

We want all to benefit from a healthy environment: like many others, we view this as a human right. All people should benefit from and participate in nature conservation and regeneration

Through our work, we aim to:
  • Promote & respect human rights
  • Encourage good governance
  • Protect the vulnerable
Our social policies guide this work


© Luis Barreto / WWF-UK


WWF's Safeguards are designed to ensure our conservation and regeneration efforts do not have unintended adverse social or environmental impacts and protect human rights. It is 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.


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.

Human rights

We have several policies and standards in place to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights across all WWF activities.

Law enforcement

Conservation law enforcement is carried out by WWF partners. To ensure this is done ethically and in line with international law, we have several protocols in place in the landscapes/projects we work on.

Excluded Activities

This list outlines activities that WWF prohibits from its activities or funding.

Grievance Mechanisms

WWF is committed to strengthening its accountability towards the communities we work with. This page outlines our approach to ensure these communities can raise their concerns or express complaints about unintended negative impacts from our work and seek resolution. 

Gender Equality

WWF recognizes the importance of promoting gender equality across the entire organization and applying its principles to all our work. Our gender policy guides this effort.