27: Championing Environmental Efforts through Business – Suzanne Apple (World Wildlife Fund)

When you think of the world of conservation, environmentalism and protecting wildlife, the World Wildlife Fund will likely come to the forefront. Their work, as well as the iconic logo with the panda, has become synonymous with conservation efforts around the world. While many of us don’t fully know all the measures associated with the tremendous scope of their global efforts, we are all confident in their lead on initiatives to protect this planet we call home.
What names you might not think of are Home Depot, McDonald’s, Proctor and Gamble, Cargill or even Coca Cola. In fact, we might even be quick to assume the worst about these companies condemning them for different practices.
As it turns out, these organizations are proactive partners with the WWF in efforts to champion sustainable sourcing efforts around the world.
Mind blowing.
Stay with me though. This isn’t just a marketing ploy from corporate representatives. These are real initiatives that are making a global impact.
Getting down to the nitty gritty, it makes sense. Every business relies on creating reliable and sustainable sourcing chains. When Coca Cola creates a product dependent on sugar, they want to know that in five years they will still have access to sugar crops. When Home Depot builds an audience of Do It Yourselfer’s building sheds, decks and other lumber based projects, they need to know that they will be able to supply lumber.
Which is why they have become incredible allies in promoting sustainable practices. Additionally, when a corporation with their purchasing power draws a line in the sand and commits to only working with suppliers who meet human right standards and sustainable sourcing practices, suppliers listen.
Needless to say, these large-scale corporations make a good partner for an NGO like WWF.

Check out What McDonalds has done for sustainability.

While there are many businesses around the world committed to maintaining the integrity and sustainability of their supply chain, not every business started there. Part of the work that Suzanne championed was bringing stakeholders of NGO’s, big businesses, governments and conservationists to the table. To have been a fly on that wall when they started!
It turns out that these individuals have more in common than they may have initially thought. Which is where true impact and innovation starts to take shape.
Listen in to hear about how the World Wildlife Fund brings together all the different stakeholders in conservation to create incredible change around the globe.
Please note: since this recording Suzanne Apple has retired from her position with the World Wildlife Fund. She is now enjoying her retirement in Atalanta Georgia and traveling.


  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Recommended Reading

How to Make a Positive Impact for a Traditional Role

  • There is so much opportunity within an organization. Break out and try new things. Explore ways to make an impact within your existing role.
  • When you do determine an issue you are passionate about, don’t assume everyone is where you are. You’ve gotten there on your own journey. You have to lead others on their journey. Do it in a way that gives them ownership on the problem.

Connect with World Wildlife Fund