World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 12 July 2022
  • Author: Caroline Tippett, Vice President of Ocean Markets and Finance

This is part two of a series that explores what sustainable coastal and marine tourism will look like in 2030 and 2050, and identifies the three key shifts needed by 2025 to achieve this ambitious vision. Part one is available here.

Leading the way hand in hand with businesses

As the leading conservation organization aiming at creating a better future for people and nature, we recognize that we cannot do this alone. WWF engages in our conservation work with communities, governments and companies to create lasting change. That is why WWF has been partnering with some of the world’s leading corporations in the hospitality and tourism sector for over a decade to meet conservation threats, with remarkable response.

One notable case study concerns our work with Royal Caribbean Group to certify its tour operators to the GSTC standard[7]. At WWF’s recommendation, Royal Caribbean Group committed to increasing the sustainability of its tour offerings through the GSTC framework. The company set a target to provide 1,000 tours through operators certified by a GSTC-accredited certification body by 2020, representing about 25–30 percent of its tour portfolio. By December 2020, it had achieved over 2,000 GSTC-certified tours through 33 different tour operators in 29 different countries.

Contributing to this achievement was the thoughtful education of key Royal Caribbean staff and local tour operators on the GSTC standard and certification process and establishing a sustainable procurement policy preferring GSTC-certified tour operators. Royal Caribbean was the first major travel company to adopt preferential purchasing based on GSTC-accredited certification. This has allowed tour operators to proudly help protect the environment while also saving costs. When a shore excursion tour operator is certified, it creates an important multiplier effect, as these operators often provide tours to other cruise lines and travel companies.

WWF additionally piloted three GSTC destination assessments in Honduras and Belize with the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) and Royal Caribbean with the local governments and civil society. Similar sustainable tourism initiatives were carried out in the Philippines together with the company and Donsol. WWF is looking to expand its collaboration with Royal Caribbean in the coming years and build together a broader nature-positive initiative in Belize and other regions. This model has the potential to be replicable with other corporate partners as part of WWF’s nature-positive business strategy.

With leading hotelier Hilton, we also have led transformative freshwater resource initiatives in some of their properties in South Africa during the devastating drought. WWF is exploring collaboration with Hilton to design destination stewardship initiatives to improve seafood sourcing, influence customer behavior and further area-based restoration efforts.


Nature-positive tourism is not only possible but necessary if we want to meet ocean conservation ambitions by 2030. There is reason to be hopeful, with the growing engagement from governments and the financial and hospitality sectors, but an awful lot of work is still needed to bend the curve of decline in nature and climate change. To maintain the natural capital on which the tourism business model is based, businesses need to act now, before the scenic beaches and marine ecosystems tourists seek are wiped away by unsustainable developments and climate change. There is also strong momentum in the finance community to redirect capital flows towards nature-positive businesses; this should be harnessed to accelerate the transition for the benefit of people, planet and peace.


[6] IPCC reports.

[7] GSTC. Royal Caribbean’s 2020 Sustainability Report.

  • Date: 11 July 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series, we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today's post, we sat down with Annika Terrana, a director on WWF's Forest team.

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  • Date: 23 June 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today's post, we caught up with Alex Nichols-Vinueza, Program Manager, Food Loss & Waste on WWF's Food team.

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  • Date: 16 June 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today's post, we sat down with Kori Goldberg, a Plastic Waste Specialist on WWF's Private Sector Engagement.

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  • Date: 10 June 2022
  • Author: Julia Kurnik, World Wildlife Fund
A row of US Postal trucks lined up in a parking lot

Our current food system is failing farmers, consumers, and the environment. Many farmers, especially small and minority farmers, struggle to turn a profit due to long supply chains. Meanwhile, over 30 million Americans experience food insecurity and often lack access to fresh, affordable produce. Yet fruit and vegetable farms exist in the majority of US counties, and up to 50% of all produce is wasted. There has to be a better way to get food from farmers to families.

Farmers Post is a program proposed by WWF’s Markets Institute as a way to connect farmers directly with consumers and increase food access, convenience, and nutrition. Through a partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS), Farmers Post would allow customers to order produce from local farms and get it shipped right to their doorsteps. These are the top five reasons why Farmers Post would contribute to a more sustainable and equitable food system.

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  • Date: 09 June 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today's post, we caught up with Sarah Zaaimi, a Program Officer for Seafood Markets Outreach on WWF's Oceans team.

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  • Date: 08 June 2022
  • Author: Christine Madden Hof

Many say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but a new app that can discern if a tortoiseshell product is made of genuine sea turtle shell or imitation materials by simply uploading a photo shows us that a picture could be worth so much more in the fight against wildlife crime and the marine turtle trade.

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  • Date: 26 May 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today’s post, we caught up with Emily Hermann, an associate communications specialist on WWF's Freshwater & Food team.

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  • Date: 19 May 2022
  • Author: Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business

Even in times of great political divide and international conflict, moments of global resolution are possible. Just a few months ago on March 2 at the UN General Assembly (UNEA 5.2), 175 world leaders courageously found common ground on a plan to tackle one of the planet's most pressing issues: plastic waste.

In the historic moment marked by the knock of a gavel and a roar of applause, UN member states unanimously voted in favor of establishing a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution – and one that will be developed under an accelerated timeline to be finalized as soon as 2024.

This first major step to put a treaty in motion took more than seven years. Because while there are many ongoing large-scale efforts to mitigate plastic waste, the reality is that no international issue can be effectively addressed without a global framework to support it.

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  • Date: 12 May 2022

WWF’s multi-stakeholder forum, Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), works to help advance the responsible development of plant-based, or “biobased” plastics.

In this new interview series, we’ll hear how members of the BFA are practically applying responsibly sourced biobased plastic as a strategy for circularity.

Berry Global’s Rob Flores, Vice President Sustainability, shares how his company is leveraging biobased content in its unique role as a packaging solutions provider.

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