Transforming Markets

Trade and economic growth have improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world, but it has come at a high cost to the environment.

The challenge is to be smarter about how we produce and what we buy and sell.

Helen van Hoeven - Director of Market Transformation

© Brent Stirton / Getty Images © Mike R. Jackson / WWF-Canon © Jo Benn / WWF-Canon © Gustavo Ybarra / WWF-Canon © WWF Madagascar / WWF-Canon © WWF / Kurt PRINZ © Erling Svensen / WWF-Canon © Carlos Munoz / WWF © Douwma / WWF © Adriano Gambarini / WWF-Brazil © Adriano Gambarini / WWF-Brazil © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK © Joel Dinda © Neil Kroeger © Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon

Better Production for a Living Planet (2012)

 / ©: WWF

As market demand for food, fibre and fuel increases in the coming decades, so will the impact on our planet’s natural resources.

The effect on biodiversity is, however, not just linked to global demand, but also to where and how companies and their supply chains obtain and process these vital commodities.

...are critical environmental challenges linked to the production and consumption of basic commodities that are both renewable (e.g. timber, crops, livestock and fish) and non-renewable (e.g. minerals, oil and gas).

For example deforestation in the Amazon is closely linked to expanding livestock and soy production, and Asia's Coral Triangle is under threat from over-fishing and rising sea temperatures.
TED Talk: WWF's Jason Clay on how big brands can help save biodiversity

Promoting market change

WWF works with major companies and their supply chains to change the way key global commodities are produced, processed, consumed and financed worldwide.
Together with large retailers, manufacturers, traders and investors, commodities can be produced more efficiently and responsibly. In creating demand for such products, significant environmental results can be achieved and markets will become more sustainable.

WWF focuses its efforts on commodities and sectors that most impact the planet's critical regions for biodiversity conservation and those that contribute to humanity’s footprint.
Download the Better Production for a Living Planet report.


The approaches being used to promote positive change in these markets include:
  • Establishin Company Partnerships to improve the sustainability of supply chains and promote sector-wide action in this field;
 / ©: Lafarge
WWF representative discussing with employee of Lafarge at the gravel pit site of Bernières sur Seine, France
© Lafarge

Sustainable wood, sustainable seafood

 / ©: MSC
MSC logo
Wood products carrying the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are responsibly managed.

Products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label assure consumers that fish and other seafood products come from, and can be traced back to sustainable fisheries.
 / ©: Alain Compost / WWF-Canon
Palm oil (Sawi palm) plantation, harvest. Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© Alain Compost / WWF-Canon
 / ©: Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon
Cattle grazing in what was once a part of the Atlantic rainforest, now deforested. BahÌa, Brazil
© Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon

Facts & Figures

    • 75% of global fisheries are fished at or beyond capacity – ever growing consumption will accelerate this.
    • Aquaculture has grown nearly 10% per year over the past 30 years and now represents more than half of the seafood consumed.
    • Cotton is the largest money-making non-food crop produced in the world.
    • The annual turnover of timber and other wood products from forests is valued at more than US$200 billion.
    • The annual rate of natural forest loss is about 13 million hectares.
    • Bio-fuel production could increase by 50% the amount of land under agriculture or “monoculture” forest plantations by 2050.

WWF Goals

    • Halt and ultimately reverse the loss of high conservation value habitat due to commodity production.
    • Ensure that global purchases of key global commodities meet internationally accepted standards.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required