Environmental NGO’s are unique in that their focus is not on directly improving the wellbeing of humans, but rather on improving the consequences of their decisions.
Non-governmental organizations that work towards preserving wildlife and the environment generally fall into two categories: organizations that perform hands-on work, and groups that help companies develop sustainable business practices. NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund and Rare focus on directly addressing ecological issues. The World Wildlife Fund carries out this function on both a local and global scale, while Rare works closely with small communities in areas where biodiversity is at risk. Meanwhile, a new type of environmental NGO has emerged. Ceres and the Global Footprint Network partner with businesses to help them factor ecological consequences into their decision making. These organizations act in much the same way that traditional consulting groups do; however, their concern is with externalities rather than profits.
The Rainforest Alliance has taken a different approach to helping businesses become environmentally sustainable. In much the same way that restaurants receive food safety grades, the Rainforest Alliance certifies whether or not companies employ ecologically friendly business methods. Between these two types of environmental NGO’s, there are plenty of opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to become involved with an organization devoted to supporting and preserving the Earth’s ecological diversity.