WWF Integrated Annual Report 2015
"As I reflect on what WWF has achieved in the last financial year, I have also been mulling over the qualities that make an exceptional environmental non-profit. In my estimation, the best organisations are typified by good governance and transparency, being able to live out the organisation’s principles and beliefs, a strong commitment to working strategically, and ultimately having an impact at scale. I can say with confidence that WWF South Africa has continued to strive for excellence in every one of these facets in the last financial year.
I am happy to report that, even under strict scrutiny, our organisation has come out with flying colours in the areas of financial accounting and risk management. As a non-profit, this is of great importance. We emphasise good governance and reliable accountability, since we recognise that these are critical attributes to enjoying continued support from our highly valued funding partners.
"Of particular importance to our stakeholders is WWF’s performance in relation to best practice for non-profits. Of our spend 83.8 per cent goes to conservation. This instils confidence in our ability to run the organisation cost effectively and to allow us to focus on the impact of our work.
"Again, we have taken significant strides towards achieving our environmental goals. This past year we joined our partners CapeNature and the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust in announcing the declaration of the Knersvlakte Nature Reserve, one of the crown jewels in our country’s rich botanical treasure trove and also the first reserve to be declared in the Western Cape for 20 years. We took a group of young, creative and influential South Africans on a Journey of Water in KwaZulu-Natal to raise awareness of our vulnerable water resources. And we prepared for, and participated in, the parliamentary processes which informed South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Conditions (INDCs), which are statements of what the country plans to do about climate change.
"Looking forward, we are hoping for a watershed moment for climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015. I am optimistic that the significant efforts by WWF and likeminded organisations – as well as the apparent realisation by some key nations that something significant has to be done – will translate into positive change.
"We are keenly aware of the global and local trends that affect society and the environment. Lower economic growth, declining credit ratings and the growing pains of a democracy that is still maturing pose multifaceted challenges to the work we do. This is why, in the last financial year, we embarked on a rigorous strategic review that takes full cognisance of the broader context, in order to position WWF South Africa for greater ambitions in the next five to ten years.
"Ultimately we want to continue to do work that is relevant to our wider society, raise funds to match our ambitions and achieve conservation impact at a scale that is measurable and meaningful to people’s lives.
"I must reserve a special mention for the staff at WWF, whose passions; commitment and hard work provide the lifeblood of what we do. In the last year, we have placed greater emphasis on staff development, including the first-ever WWF Learning Week, which inspired staff and pioneered a novel way to connect our various units. I would also like to thank the Board for their continued dedication and guidance.
"Our journey towards a future where people live in harmony with nature continues, and it is very much a collaborative and collective one."