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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
WWF Impact invests in spaces where market innovations are critical for accelerating conservation efforts and solving the most pressing environmental challenges.
Our agricultural system is responsible for keeping the world's population fed and clothed, but our resources are growing increasingly strained. The environmental impacts of agriculture are significant – food production accounts for nearly a third of GHG emissions, 70% of the world’s freshwater consumption, and drives 80% of global deforestation.i Many agricultural jobs are unsafe, and farmers operate on razor thin margins while input costs continue to rise. The headwinds of climate change only increase these risks.
WWF Impact promotes agricultural approaches that mitigate GHG emissions, enable efficient land and resource use, and benefit farm communities. We make catalytic investments in farm-level interventions that scale solutions in line with WWF’s goals of preventing conversion and deforestation and protecting biodiversity, climate, freshwater, and livelihoods.
We are especially interested in technologies that address the following:
These focus areas empower farmers and ranchers with new tools to increase profitability and benefit the environment. This strategy supports the livestock sector in integrating new technologies for establishing regenerative production, mitigating emissions, and re-valuing waste streams. We aid farmers by advancing technologies that improve efficiency and reduce the physical burdens of farmwork.
Nearly 40% of the food we grow globally is wasted, amounting to roughly 2.5 billion tons of food every year. This represents a significant loss of resources and has a negative environmental impact, with food loss and waste contributing an estimated 10% of human generated GHG emissions.ii At the same time, access to affordable and nutritious food for all remains a challenge: the World Food Programme estimates that in 2022, nearly 828 million people face acute food insecurity.iii
WWF Impact’s Food Circularity portfolio will target waste and distribution inefficiencies across the food supply chain while prioritizing human health and wellbeing. We invest in innovations that directly address food waste, food loss, waste-to-feed, and sustainable food packaging to promote circularity in developing and developed markets. This approach will help reduce the environmental impact of food, redirect surplus food to benefit communities, and support solutions that are based in—and/or can be scaled to—geographies experiencing significant waste disposal challenges and rapid population growth.
WWF Impact supports business models that recover and revalue food waste, helping stakeholders view unused food as something that offers profitable environmental and social benefits. Examples of these spaces include:
Aquaculture represents a scalable opportunity to provide significant local ecosystem benefits, help offset terrestrial agricultural emissions, and improve livelihoods in coastal communities.iv As seaweed grows, it takes up excess carbon and nitrogen, creates habitat, and reduces the impacts of acidification. Post-harvest, this versatile crop can be used as a net-neutral animal feed, both displacing resource intensive feed commodities and improving animal health. The sector is also exploring fertilizer, biostimulant, and bioplastics applications for seaweed, thereby helping to reduce the land use, freshwater consumption, and emissions of existing terrestrial supply chains. Furthermore, seaweed farming can serve as an income diversification tool for fishermen reliant on fleeting and fluctuating wild stocks. In nascent seaweed markets, however, access to capital is a substantial bottleneck to scale; investors have historically been reluctant to back seaweed ventures due to the constraints of annual farming cycles and the lack of technological innovation. Therefore, there is an opportunity for WWF to invest catalytic capital in these overlooked spaces and help farmers and processors build new markets.
WWF Impact is helping growth-oriented startups kickstart sea farming in regions with little existing production volume but significant potential. Our investments in this space share an overall approach to sustainable seaweed that addresses barriers to scale -- reduce production costs through technological innovation at the farm-level, build new markets for value-added seaweed products, and improve public acceptance for ocean farming.
WWF Impact is focused on four high leverage areas within the aquaculture industry:
The role of forests cannot be overstated – from providing critical habitats and supporting biodiversity, to sequestering carbon and keeping our air clean, forests are fundamental for global climate and community resiliency. WWF will support innovations that facilitate sustainable forest management, agroforestry, and prevent deforestation across a variety of sectors and geographies.
We can attribute many of our daily products, activities, and well-being to natural capital and the environment. WWF will support startups pioneering new business models and technologies that adequately value ecosystems. This portfolio will play an important role in protecting biodiversity, demonstrating the value of ecosystem services, and ensuring benefits accrue to local populations.
iWorld Wildlife Fund. “Living Planet Report”. 2020.
iiWorld Wildlife Fund. “We’re losing 40% of the food we produce. Here’s how to stop food waste.” 19 Aug 2021.
iiiWorld Food Programme. “A Global Food Crisis.” 2022.
ivOverton et al. “Achieving conservation and restoration outcomes through ecologically beneficial aquaculture.” 2023.