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Working with industries to save our heritage

WWF has been working with industry leading companies in extractives, banking, investment management and insurance companies to develop robust policies to protect natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These institutions need to play an increasingly important role in helping to safeguard natural World Heritage Sites now and for future generations. Banks, investors and insurance companies have a unique responsibility to ensure that lending, investment and underwriting decisions are made on a sound and sustainable basis.

We engage with financial institutions

We engage with a range of financial institutions, helping to improve their environmental policies on funding, investment and insurance. The incentive for financial institutions lies in reducing reputational and operational risk as well as identifying investment opportunities.


  • Produce evidence and analysis, for example, through our mapping and engagement tool - WWF-SIGHT. SIGHT data forms the basis of policy advocacy reports, such as ‘Safeguarding Outstanding Natural Value’
  • Encourage financial institutions to engage as shareholders to challenge extractive, infrastructure and other private sector companies to act in an environmentally and socially responsible way and adopting a 'no go’/‘no impact’ policy on World Heritage Sites
  • Work with financial institutions to influence the wider finance sector through encouraging more meaningful environmental risk and impact data and screening tools
  • Encourage them to disclose relevant environmental and social risk information and ask the companies they are invested in to do the same
Contact us at lsmall@wwfint.org

Find out more on our engagement

Safeguarding Outstanding Natural Value

Our joint report with Aviva Investors and Investec Asset Management. This report focuses on the role of institutional investors in protecting natural World Heritage Sites from extractive activity. A summary of this report can be read here.

How banks can safeguard our World heritage

In 2017 WWF and Ecofact produced the report “How banks can safeguard our World heritage” which provides a ‘how to guide’ to help banks develop robust and comprehensive policies and implementation procedures to ensure they safeguard World Heritage Sites.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

The IFC has updated the guidance note to Performance Standard (PS) 6 to make it clear that any projects in World Heritage Sites must contribute to the conservation value of that site, or will not be financed. All the banks signed up to the Equator Principles have committed to follow IFC PS6 for their project finance.

Insurance industry World Heritage Initiative

WWF partnered with UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (UNPSI) and UNESCO World Heritage Centre to launch first ever insurance industry initiative to protect World Heritage launched in June 2018 during the World Heritage Committee meetings in Bahrain. There are already over 17 signatories including leading insurance and reinsurance companies such as Allianz and Swiss Re. An insurance industry guide is being developed to provide practical guidance to insurers on how to avoid insuring or investing in companies or projects whose activities could damage World Heritage Sites.