Corporate Governance at WWF-Hong Kong

There are two types of WWF offices - national organizations or offices under WWF International which operate autonomously and raise money on their own behalf and those that operate under supervision by WWF International. WWF-Hong Kong belongs to the former type.

From the legal perspective, WWF-Hong Kong is a company limited by guarantee registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap 32) of the Laws of Hong Kong. As a leading non-profit conservation organization, we command a high degree of public trust by virtue of the three pillars of our corporate governance – professionalism, integrity and transparency.

Professionalism – Executive Council

The governing body of WWF-Hong Kong is the Executive Council, where members are professionals from conservation, scientific and business fields with strong commitment to nature conservation. They serve on a voluntary basis, providing advice from their professional perspectives. They set the strategic direction, approve the annual budget and conservation programmes, and also monitor the operations of WWF-Hong Kong. The Executive Council meets four times a year with the Annual General meeting usually being held in November. Members of the Executive Council must be trustee members of WWF-Hong Kong and are elected by trustee members at the Annual General Meeting. Council members are appointed on three-year terms, and are eligible for re-election. Meanwhile, a number of sub-committees composed of experts are set up to enhance the breadth and depth of the Executive Council’s work. The chairman of each sub-committee sits on the Executive Council to provide professional advice on relevant issues. The sub-committees are:

Conservation Committee

The committee reviews on an annual basis the conservation programmes undertaken by WWF-Hong Kong in its Five Years Strategic Plan and assesses them in relation to WWF’s global Conservation Practices and WWF-Hong Kong’s capacity. Individual members may be asked to advise on specific conservation projects within their own expertise outside the annual reviews. Advice is also provided to the Executive Council annually on the effectiveness of WWF-Hong Kong’s conservation planning, monitoring and evaluation processes, with suggestions on improvement if necessary. Besides, the Committee assists in the identification of emerging issues for WWF-Hong Kong’s consideration through existing or new conservation programmes.

Development Committee

The Development Committee oversees overall fundraising initiatives of WWF-Hong Kong. The committee provides advice on matters concerning fundraising strategies to secure funding from individual donors, corporate donors, major donors, trading and events for the support of WWF-Hong Kong’s mission.

Education Committee

The Education Committee provides specialist advice and guidance on priorities concerning programmes initiated by the WWF-Hong Kong Education Department. Power is entrusted to the Committee to approve project documents, annual work plans and Five-year Education Master Plans to support WWF’s conservation goals, to ensure programmes are run in accordance with the direction in WWF-Hong Kong’s Strategic Plan.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee examines financial reports, budgets and forecasts of WWF-Hong Kong. They are responsible for evaluating corporate governance and Auditors of WWF-Hong Kong, making recommendations to the Executive Council on the appointment of the Auditors. Risk areas are assessed to ensure that material risks are identified and appropriate strategies are in place to mitigate or prevent the risk occurring.

Mai Po Management Committee

The Mai Po Management Committee ensures ecological monitoring and habitat management activities at the Mai Po Nature Reserve follows the 5-year Mai Po Management Plan. The Committee reviews the results of the ecological monitoring at least on an annual basis, and advises on additional habitat management activities in response to sudden or unexpected changes to the ecology of the Reserve. Representatives from Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society together with independent wetlands and water birds experts sit on the Committee.

Mai Po Nature Reserve Infrastructure Upgrade Project Steering Committee

The Project Steering Committee governs all matters relating to the strategy and the identification and solicitation of significant support which will lead to the successful implementation of the Mai Po infrastructure upgrade work. The Committee is tasked with ensuring that the project remains aligned with the primary strategic objective of WWF and Mai Po Nature Reserve: to transform the Reserve into a 21st century nature classroom. The Committee is empowered to approve the appointment of professional consultants, endorse the project timeline, evaluate and identify risks, monitor project finances and periodically review the progress of the project. The project commenced in March 2016.

Integrity – beyond legal compliance

WWF-Hong Kong strives to adopt the best practices in corporate governance. We are a tax-exempt charity recognized under s88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap 112). Legal compliance is the top concern of every step we take, and as a good corporate citizen, we are committed to going beyond compliance. As one of the leading charities in Hong Kong, WWF-Hong Kong welcomes the initiative of the Law Reform Commission to review regulations and governance of charities in Hong Kong. We are looking forward to a more transparent and healthy philanthropic community here.

Transparency – Information Disclosure

WWF-Hong Kong understands that voluntary disclosure is essential in establishing public confidence. To ensure that financial resources are spent appropriately, we are committed to disclosing clear and accurate financial information for public scrutiny. Our financial accounts, prepared in accordance with the Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards, are independently audited by BDO Limited, and published yearly in our annual review.