World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 11 May 2023
  • Author: Edward Wyatt

In Central Brazil’s vast Cerrado savanna, a grand experiment is taking place. Baru trees by the hundreds are being planted – some in the form of seeds, some as seedlings, and some well on their way to maturity in agroforests alongside other native vegetation. In some tracts, cattle graze among the more mature baru trees, in other areas, no cows are allowed.

The point of all this testing is to uncover the premium growing conditions under which the baru (Dipteryx alata) can thrive. The species, native to the Brazilian Cerrado, is a key part of reforestation efforts in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. And overseeing a reforestation project on the Boa Vida farm near town of Bonito is a woman who is a “traditional seed guardian,” Elida Cristina Martins.

“I found that if we planted baru with bananas nearby it grows much faster than when planted alone, and the bananas help break the wind and keep the ground wet to keep the baru healthy,” she said as she gave a recent tour of her farm to a group of visitors from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Tapestry Foundation.

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  • Date: 05 May 2023

After decades of farming small grains on his family farm and ranch near Buffalo, South Dakota, David Niemi decided the landscape needed a change. David’s father planted nearly 2,000 acres of their ranch into small grain production in the 1960’s to diversify their operation, and the family continued to plant annual crops on the field until recent extreme drought conditions made farming it no longer a viable option. David decided that the best thing he could do for the land and his family business would be to re-seed- drought tolerant, hardy native plant species.

While exciting, reseeding projects which aim to return previously tilled farm ground to resilient grassland can be very expensive for producers. Often producers who decide they’d like return farm ground to its previous resiliency are met with a cost prohibitive estimate for seed. The cost of replanting ground back to (or close to) its original species mix is typically costly enough that producers aren’t able to make the project work out on the balance sheet. Fortunately, partnerships, like the one between Air Wick and World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains Program, are being developed to support reseeding projects on the Niemi’s ranch and many others.

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  • Date: 01 May 2023
  • Author: Sam Wildman, Sr. Program Officer – Sustainable Protein Systems, WWF

Over the past year, I’ve been lucky to collaborate with many American Feed Industry Association and Institute for Feed Education and Research staff and members, forging the first-ever partnership between our organizations. The goal was to elevate a vision that feed and animal nutrition can be a critical lever in providing sustainable solutions to food systems.

World Wildlife Fund’s mission is to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. That includes making sure there is enough food for a growing population, while protecting our planet’s critical natural resources like water, forests, and clean air. The feed industry, with its global influence, has unique potential to help build that sustainable future.

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  • Date: 26 April 2023
  • Author: Alex Nichols-Vinueza, Program Manager, Food Loss and Waste; Leigh Prezkop, Senior Program Officer, Food Loss and Waste

Organizations are increasingly working to reduce food loss and waste (FLW) across the food supply chain in support of their commitments to address food insecurity and climate change. That work often starts with donating or composting excess food to keep it out of landfills (where food waste emits methane). While this downstream work is incredibly important, the overwhelming majority of the food system’s environmental impacts occur upstream at the farm level, and the larger challenge is how buyers and growers can more closely coordinate to reduce FLW in a way that utilizes more of what we already grow and shrinks the footprint of agriculture.

In nature, nothing is wasted, and by mimicking this approach, we can develop more circular pathways that use surplus food along the supply chain to first feed those in need, and then develop new sales channels for growers to justify harvesting more of their crop, feed animals, and fertilize their crops—all helping to reduce our natural resource use and impact on biodiversity in the process.

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  • Date: 26 April 2023

At least 35% of all food in the US is left behind in fields or goes to waste, while millions of Americans face food insecurity. Businesses, government agencies, funders, and many others are already taking huge strides to address this challenge. But a patchwork of initiatives, no matter how impressive or innovative, will never be enough to make the rapid and dramatic reductions in food waste required to sustain ourselves and our planet. We cannot solve this problem without ambitious leadership and action on the federal level and across all 50 states. This is where the Zero Food Waste Coalition comes in.

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  • Date: 25 April 2023
  • Author: Alex Nichols-Vinueza, Program Manager, Food Loss and Waste; Leigh Prezkop, Senior Program Officer, Food Loss and Waste

Thus far, the regenerative agriculture movement and its impacts on land rehabilitation have held little consensus. Many broadly reduce this farming approach to practices like no-till, crop rotations, and cover cropping with the simple purpose of reducing chemical and fertilizer inputs. Others underscore the movement's role in reorienting our production philosophies to emphasize reciprocal relationships with the environment and our food systems. For World Wildlife Fund, regenerative agriculture is centered on being deforestation and conversion free, rebuilding soil health, protecting water ecosystems, and supporting biodiversity, food producers, and agricultural communities.

As it stands, roughly 15% of all food produced is wasted at the farm stage, according to WWF’s recent Driven to Waste report. For farmers, this has meant the immediate loss of profits and reduced productivity in farmland over time. However, regenerative agriculture has the potential to revitalize ecosystem services and help reduce on-farm food loss and waste. To date, there has been limited research into how the farming methods associated with regenerative agriculture can reduce these adverse effects – and WWF aims to fill this gap.

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  • Date: 19 April 2023

April 22 is Earth Day, a time to appreciate everything the natural world provides for us—from the water that replenishes us, to the food that nourishes us, and the trees that help provide the oxygen we breathe, we celebrate the planet we call home. It’s also a day to encourage more climate-friendly choices and shed light on the pressing environmental challenges we’re facing today.

The 2022 Living Planet Report showed us that climate change and biodiversity loss are the twin emergencies of our time, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. However, we also learned we have the capability to reverse these trends. It’s more important now than ever that we make our planet a priority. In continuation of last year’s Earth Day theme, we ask that everyone “Invest in Our Planet,” once more.

More transformation action is needed, and we can’t do it alone. We need everyone - business, governments, and individuals like you - to help create lasting change. Through collective individual actions, we can invest in our planet’s future by making more sustainable lifestyle choices, urge greater climate action from both our government officials and business leaders, and support organizations that are making a difference.

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  • Date: 13 April 2023

In the lead-up to Earth Day on April 22, WWF is celebrating Monarch Week to call attention to the dramatic decline of the migratory monarch butterfly population. The week-long campaign encourages millions of Americans to help stem the decline of the charismatic species by planting critical milkweed habitat needed along its annual migration route and supporting WWF’s global conservation efforts.

This year WWF is also partnering with world-renowned Chef José Andrés and his Washington, DC-based restaurant Oyamel. From April 17-23, Jose and WWF will be connecting with social media followers and restaurant patrons about the need to save the migratory monarch butterfly. Digital and in-restaurant materials will highlight the plight of the monarch butterfly, WWF’s work to conserve the species, and invite people to take action.

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  • Date: 12 April 2023
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, WWF

ChatGPT has been all over the news for its ability to create well-written concepts with minimal prompting, leading many to herald a new era of artificial intelligence. But it’s not the only game in town in terms of innovative AI. WWF, in collaboration with the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment (PCFWC), Afresh, and Shelf Engine, conducted pilots using AI purchasing systems in two different grocery retail chains to reduce food waste and improve profits. The results were impressive: food waste was reduced by 14.8% per store on average.

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  • Date: 06 April 2023
  • Author: Lindsay Petelinkar, Senior Corporate Sustainability Analyst for Lowe’s

Taking a moment to stop and reflect on my career journey has been uplifting. How did I get here?

As a Senior Corporate Sustainability Analyst for Lowe’s, the majority of my daily focus pertains to forestry and responsible wood sourcing. Within my role, I am also able to work collaboratively on other sustainability-focused projects. This job is a dream come true for me as a passionate environmentalist and it’s also an incredible learning opportunity for an early-career professional. In my role, I’m able to harness my passion for the environment to execute projects that support our mission to help Lowe’s customers live more sustainably at home and that inspire tangible change in a corporate setting.

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