Supporting the future of conservation: How we manage our investments

At WWF-US, we’ve been on a journey shared by many other non-profits, universities, religious organizations, cities and states to better align our investments with our mission. We are very proud of the progress we continue to make and believe our results are among the best out there.

WWF-US does not invest directly in any single company. We invest in funds, like most people do in their own retirement accounts. We look to partner with investment managers with great track records and try to balance our portfolio to weather economic ups and downs. The returns from our portfolio and scheduled distributions contribute to supporting our core operations and investments in conservation across the world.

Our mission is an urgent one, and for that reason we are committed to ensuring our investment portfolio provides lasting financial certainty so that WWF can continue its positive impact far into the future.

How is our investment portfolio funded?

WWF-US funds its investment portfolio primarily through donations from bequests and endowments, as well as reinvestment of the portfolio’s earnings.

Annual contributions from individual members and donors are not part of the investment portfolio; these gifts and support are instead directed straight into work toward our urgent mission.

How is WWF-US aligning our investments with our mission?

WWF-US is committed to targeting investments that are aligned with our mission, including investments in funds with strategies that are focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, sustainability, and the transition to a low carbon economy.

To accomplish this, we:

  • seek funds with managers whose strategies can drive sustainable business and energy transformation;
  • avoid any investments in funds where managers target oil and gas, coal or tar sands; and wind down any legacy exposure to such funds;
  • explore different tools to evaluate the impacts of our portfolio and its alignment to ESG principles, including the urgent need to address climate change.
    • As an example, between 2014-2021 WWF-US employed a strategy to eliminate even incidental gains from oil and gas exposure through an innovative financial instrument – a Stranded Assets Swap that was heralded as a “derivative for good.”

With markets shifting further away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, we continue to pursue new strategies and prioritize investments that are mission aligned and focused on ESG principles.

Investments are just the start

Moving forward, we are more committed than ever to aligning our investments to a future where people and nature thrive. We are increasingly focused on comprehensive approaches to further guide the alignment of our investment portfolio with a rapid transition to a net-zero economy.

We also recognize that investment strategies are only a part of the picture. Our most important work includes partnering with governments, businesses, universities, NGOs and local leaders to create new ways to protect the planet and accelerate the global transition to a low carbon economy. Together, we can catalyze the large-scale changes needed to protect the future of nature.