Our Values

Who We Are and How We Operate

Defenders of Wildlife believes in the inherent value of wildlife and the natural world, regardless of whether individual species are recognized as having utilitarian or aesthetic value to humankind. We believe that we will better achieve our mission to conserve all native plants and animals in North America in their natural communities if we live by convictions that guide all aspects of our work.

Defenders’ Values Statement sets out expectations as to how employees will interact with each other, guides relationships with partners and supporters and shapes interactions with those holding differing opinions and beliefs. We are “One Defenders,” committed to working together under the highest standards of honesty and integrity to achieve transformative goals for our members, supporters and the plant and animal resources we seek to conserve. We strive to: 

  • Always use the best available science to inform and guide our decisions and priorities, but recognize that it may not always be the sole driver of our actions; 
  • Balance idealism with pragmatism, focusing on creating solutions rather than just identifying problems; 
  • Be fair, honest, open-minded, collaborative and respectful in all of our internal and external interactions; 
  • Be truthful and accurate in our internal and external communications, acknowledging and rectifying our errors when we make them; 
  • Regardless of political affiliation, collaborate with others who share our commitment to wildlife conservation and challenge those who violate or seek to weaken our nation’s environmental laws; 
  • Measure our performance by the achievement of lasting solutions consistent with our mission, long-term goals and priorities; 
  • Value and respect the critical contributions of our members and supporters; 
  • Use our resources wisely, thinking big and maximizing the impact and effectiveness of our advocacy work; 
  • Value innovation, being willing to take responsible risks to advance wildlife conservation; 
  • Minimize our own impact on wildlife and the environment by conserving resources in our daily work; and 
  • Routinely assess both our successes and our disappointments, learning from those experiences and adapting our strategies and tactics as necessary. 

Our employees are our greatest asset and we care about their welfare and professional growth—we will always listen to our co-workers suggestions for improving our operations. Empowerment is fostered throughout all levels of our organization through clarity of authority and accountability. We value the unique perspectives and backgrounds of our employees and work to expand the diversity of our workforce, board of directors and coalitions. Moreover, we recognize that conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.