Markets | WWF
© WWF / James Morgan


How we live matters

Have you ever thought about how much we all depend on nature – for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat?
Or about how what we buy and how we live can change the world – for better or worse.

Your favourite snack might contain cocoa, palm oil or soy that have contributed to deforestation, and its plastic packaging could pollute the ocean for 400 years.

Alternatively, it might have been produced according to the highest environmental and social standards, and by buying it, you’re helping protect wildlife and habitats, and improving livelihoods.

The choices we make about what to buy and how to live are just one part of the complex web of global supply and demand that touches every corner of the planet.

"We can’t keep living and consuming the same way and expect different results. Only by providing a good quality of life for all not tied to ever-increasing consumption, will we see positive results for people and nature. Companies, consumers and markets can all help shape sustainable supply and demand and ensure our future prosperity."

Cristianne Close
Markets Practice Leader

© Shutterstock

Markets impact nature and people

Our economies are geared towards continuous growth – but we’re consuming more than the Earth can provide.
Over the last half century, the global population has doubled and the global economy has grown nearly fourfold – but at great cost to the natural world.

We’ve lost a fifth of the Amazon rainforest over the same period, half of all shallow water corals in the past 30 years, and populations of vertebrates have declined by 60% on average in the last 40 years.

Inefficient food production and wastefulness are destroying forests and grasslands, contributing to climate change, water scarcity, nature loss and pollution.

Even though we already produce enough food for ten billion people – the estimated world population in 2050 – we waste a third of it and continue to convert more forests into farmland we don’t need.
© Cat Holloway/ WWF
© Cat Holloway/ WWF

Can you imagine a world without coral reefs?

Coral reefs are at high risk of disappearing. We’ve already lost 50% and could lose 90% by 2050, spelling disaster for marine ecosystems, tourism and 120 million people that depend on reefs for food and livelihoods.

That’s why we’re helping communities around the world protect and manage coral reefs and restore fish stocks. Our coastal seas can recover, if we protect them in time.

© © WWF / Richard Stonehouse

Markets can be a force for good

Markets also offer opportunities to create positive change.
As consumers, we can demand what we buy is produced in harmony with nature.

Companies can develop new business models, influence supply chains, make production sustainable, and shape economies that benefit nature and people.

Local communities living in and managing important natural areas can improve their livelihoods, for example, by selling sustainable products or supporting ecotourism.

And governments can provide incentives and supportive regulations that shape sustainable production and consumption.


© © Simon De Trey-White / WWF-UK

Without a dramatic shift beyond ‘business as usual’, natural systems that support modern society will collapse.

That’s why WWF and Impact Hub are bringing entrepreneurs and environmentalists together to accelerate innovation for nature, ‘future-proof’ businesses and deliver transformational impact.

© James Morgan / WWF-US

Markets for nature and people

We’re working with citizens, consumers, communities, governments and companies to create markets that are good for nature and people.
That means increasing demand for sustainably produced products, particularly through developing community enterprise that supports conservation.

It also means reducing demand for products that harm wildlife directly – for example, through shutting down illegal ivory markets and tackling plastic pollution.

And it means shifting demand for products that have the biggest impacts on nature – commodities like palm oil, soy, beef and seafood – to more sustainable choices.

Together with business, we’re calling on governments to agree a New Deal for Nature and People that helps put nature on the path to recovery.

And to create a united business voice, we’ve helped set up Business for Nature – a global coalition calling for action to reverse nature loss and restore the planet’s vital natural systems.

If we look after nature together, nature will look after us.

To find out more about our work on markets please contact us on


© Grey

Our Travel Ivory Free campaign encourages Chinese travellers to Thailand and Vietnam to buy alternative, sustainable souvenirs that are locally crafted.

The Your Plastic Diet campaign, showing you could be ingesting the equivalent of a credit card in plastic every week, is calling for a global treaty on plastic use and waste.

And ReSource: Plastic is helping companies design re-use and recycling into their business models.

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