Digital disruption and the future of conservation

How can conservation NGOs improve practices and stay relevant in an increasingly disruptive digital landscape? 

We are living in a time of increasingly rapid digital transformation, with the adoption of digital alternatives recently accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the mainstreaming of blockchain technology. Blockchain based applications are opening up new opportunities for fundraising and engagement, while at the same time contributing to the democratisation and transparency of existing conservation practices. 

Younger generations are consuming this digital information with ease, with growing online communities possessing the expertise and drive to bridge the divide between conservation and digital spheres. These digital communities are not only adept at using innovative technologies, but display new motivations and strong philanthropic tendencies which are yet to be well understood or optimised by the conservation sector. The appetite of conservationists to engage with this space was revealed during the Gamifying nature conservation initiative, sparking investigations into the knowledge gap and acting as the catalyst for this project.

The ‘Digital disruption and the future of conservation’ initiative is exploring the transformative potential of blockchain technology and online communities whilst paving the way for ongoing intersectional collaboration. By investigating and testing the ability of digital disruption to catalyse new fundraising and business models, this initiative aspires to empower innovators to make effective choices, ensure the ongoing relevance of conservation NGOs, and ultimately increase the impact of global conservation efforts.

If you would like to get in touch with the project team, please email digital.impact@wwfint.org.

Related SDGs

Explore the impacts

Ideation

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November 2021

The Gamifying nature conservation initiative unearths the appetite of the conservation sector to further understand the transformative potential of blockchain technology.

Gamifying nature conservation

weerapat1003 / AdobeStock
15th December 2021

After recognising the lack of resources currently available to help conservationists make effective decisions in the digital sphere, the Luc Hoffmann Institute begins its investigations into digital communities, blockchain, and how they can contribute to the democratisation of the conservation movement.

Impact NFT dashboard
February 2022

The Luc Hoffmann Institute compiles a database of projects using blockchain for conservation impact. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) prove to be in a state of rapid growth and, taking a step to bridge the knowledge gap and encourage further discussions, the database is turned into an online interactive repository of ‘Impact NFTs’.
Despite blockchain’s ability to provide transactional transparency, there is difficulty in measuring the overall contribution of impact projects to conservation efforts. Two software developers are brought on-board to tackle these issues of traceability.

Impact NFT dashboard

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9th May 2022

Sasha Sebright, MPhil in Conservation Leadership graduate and project lead for ‘Digital disruption and the future of conservation’, shares her thoughts on how conservation can learn from digital communities.

How conservation can learn from digital communities

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10th June 2022

The Digital disruption project team joins the Future of conservation NGO initiative for a dynamic session revealing the areas of greatest existing alignment and future collaborative impact between the two initiatives.

The future of conservation NGOs

Luc Hoffmann Institute
27th June 2022

A virtual workshop brings together 18 experts in the web3.0 sector to map how NFTs, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs), and new tools for digital engagement such as virtual worlds can be used to enhance current and future conservation impact.

Aspiration

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To unearth and utilise cutting edge digital innovation for positive conservation impact, and empower innovators to create more equitable and effective conservation approaches.

Timeline ends here

Related resources

Exploring possible futures for conservation NGOs
A March 2022 analysis report by the Luc Hoffmann Institute authored by Barney Tallack and Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken. The report acknowledges two lenses involving digital innovation (‘Embracing digital technology and data-driven approaches’ and ‘A bridge between the blockchain and local community conservation’) by which future conservation NGOs could position themselves.

Exploring the potential of gamification to finance nature conservation: a new report
A September 2021 report by the Luc Hoffmann Institute exploring how storytelling and gamification can derive value from, and for, wildlife.

Gamifying conservation: What could go wrong?
A September 2021 thought piece by Sasha Sebright, MPhil in Conservation Leadership candidate at the University of Cambridge, exploring the unintended adverse consequences of gamifying nature conservation.