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WWF responds to my blog post on NGOs losing the plot

After my recent posting: “Have campaigning NGOs lost the plot?” I promised Dax Lovegrove at WWF that I would give his response some airtime.

I don’t usually publish complete responses on the blog, given that I encourage comments and that debate in that format is the traditional use of blogs.

But after some thought I figured I owe WWF some airtime in response.

So here’s Dax’s response in full. I don’t apologise for what I wrote. My belief is firmly that large NGOs are far too fat and happy, suffering from the same malaise that can fall upon big companies in just the same way.

On my original criticism of WWF, I should point out that this is not just my view. I wrote the post because so many people, senior executives, NGOs, academics and so on, have made the point to me about large NGOs getting too comfortable and friendly. I linked in the previous post to recent blogs and books on this.

This is real concern, not just me sounding off on a whim. Here’s what WWF said in response to my post.

I’d be interested to hear if readers think this response cuts the mustard. I don’t believe it does.

“Dear Toby,

To suggest we need to up our game on activism and campaigning shows little understanding of what WWF has been doing for the last 50 years and little grasp of the challenges ahead. While many other NGOs do a good job on the activism front, and we challenge various unacceptable activities – for example oil and gas operations in places such as the Arctic, Sakhalin, Alberta and the Virunga National Park, our main focus is on working with business to arrive at sustainable solutions.

Moving our economic system to being aligned with protecting the environment instead of degrading it requires a whole range of improvements to the way business is done and above all, we need new thinking. This is where WWF comes in. Our collaborative efforts through the Finance Lab, Tasting the Future, Green Game Changers and various partnerships, and, our reports such as the Livewell Plate and our global energy report are all about pushing business further and faster along the path towards sustainability.

So, yes, come to our World with a Future event, where we dare to go where most mundane CSR conferences won’t. We will be asking the tough questions – Can the world economy keep growing? Is green growth really the answer? Do we need to think about radically new ways of doing business?

Dax Lovegrove,
Head of Business & Industry,
WWF-UK.”

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