Advocacy, for WWF Canada, simply means influencing decision making in the interests of conservation. There are many different ways of pursuing advocacy, from cooperative discussions with decision makers, to sharply critical personal attacks. Therefore, it is quite proper and important to ask, “What is the advocacy style of WWF Canada?”
Our unique style is “advocacy with excellence.” Specifically, this means the following:
Advocacy with Excellence
Being politically non-partisan
We offer our general perspective and specific advice to governments of all political stripes. We support genuine conservation steps taken by anyone.
We recognize that a wide range of stakeholders in Canada is interested in, and necessary to, making progress on conservation concerns. These interests include government, business, labour, aboriginal interests, scientists and other non-government organizations. We support or work with anyone who shares our conservation mission.
We focus on the key players who must make decisions in the interests of conservation. In some cases, this may be one or two strategically-placed individuals. In other cases, decision makers may first need to be convinced of public will, so our target may be the general public.
We seek commitments that are sufficient to achieve conservation results and specific enough so that progress can be measured. We will not be satisfied with partial commitments that don't really do the job, or worse, rhetorical commitments which create the illusion of progress.
Being scientifically accurate
We base our advocacy on the best scientific advice available, and often on fieldwork conducted exclusively for WWF.
Doing our homework well
We thoroughly analyze both the substance and the strategy of an issue before publicly engaging in it. If for some reason we cannot do this, it is better not to engage an issue through advocacy, because it will not be “advocacy with excellence”.
Checking someone else’s homework
We do not risk WWF’s credibility by uncritically accepting that others have done their homework up to our standard.
Staying within our area of expertise
We do not take official positions on environmental concerns, even those which may be extremely important and related to the work of WWF Canada, if we have no particular expertise on these issues.
Trying cooperative approaches first
We make an honest and thorough effort to influence decision making through a cooperative approach, clearly documenting the response (or lack of), before we move to more critical approaches.
Following due process internally
The scientific advisors, board and executive committee of WWF Canada are properly consulted regarding substance and strategy on major advocacy concerns.
Taking the high road
Throughout our advocacy efforts we stick to our conservation principles, and do not engage in personal or institutional attacks.
Being prepared to say No
We do not advocate causes or positions simply because others want us to, without having met all the other conditions listed above.