The Gift is symbolic, and is WWF's highest accolade for publicly applauding a significant conservation achievement. It enables WWF to draw worldwide attention to the conservation action, including international media, funding agencies and other organizations. It can also serve as an example, helping to encourage similar actions by others elsewhere.
More than 100 Gifts to the Earth have been recognized since 1996, including more than 60 major commitments by governments throughout the world.
Each of these Gifts represents an important success for one or more of WWF's global priority places
and/or footprint areas
. WWF has also recognized important incentives for sustainability, such as Unilever's
efforts to co-found the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and source certified fish, and a commitment by AssiDoman
, a major Baltic forest company, to certify its forests through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
The Gift to the Earth is symbolized in a certificate signed by Jim Leape, the WWF International Director General. Once awarded, WWF follows up to monitor progress and assist where possible.
In several cases, the recognition of a government's conservation action as a Gift to the Earth has prompted the government to make further important actions.