Funding for nature conservation: A study of public finance networks at World Wide Fund for nature (WWF)

M.N. Anyango*, M.A.J. Lamers, V.R. van der Duim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


One of the greatest challenges in nature conservation is funding. In the pursuit of new financing sources critical to fight biodiversity and ecosystem loss, nature conservation organisations increasingly aim to create networks between states, markets and civil society. Using Manuel Castells’ network theory and World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) as a case study, this article aims at understanding how large conservation NGOs utilise networking in their pursuit for funding. Apart from increasing income by attracting public funds from governments and aid agencies, around 2010 WWF’s public sector finance strategy expanded to influencing and leveraging finance—both public and private—using public
funds. During WWF’s engagement with private sector financing, paradoxically its public sector financing grew at the average rate of 7.5% per year. Our network analysis shows that WWF has continuously reworked and renegotiated its position in order to stay connected to the ‘space of flows’. WWF and other large conservation organisations have to be in the right networks, speak the right language, and connect to relevant social, informational and political flows to stay relevant and connected to substantial flows of funding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3749-3766
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number14
Early online date28 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Conservation finance
  • Conservation networks
  • Private sector finance
  • Public sector finance
  • World Wide Fund


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