Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 1711–1726 | Cite as

Acting effectively for biodiversity: a strategic framework for environmental non-governmental organisations

  • F. GuilletEmail author
  • L. Mermet
  • J. Roulot
Original Paper


Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are major operators of conservation initiatives both in the political sphere and in the field. The context within which they operate can change rapidly and dramatically. As a result, they need to plan new strategies, and do so by taking up the challenges of strategic design like any institutionalised organization. However, the specific characteristics and situations of ENGOs call for new, relevant approaches to strategic analysis and design. Based on successive cycles of case studies and conceptual work drawing on the biodiversity and strategic management literatures, the present paper proposes a new framework to articulate four fundamental dimensions of ENGOs’ strategy: the choice of goals in terms of ecological priorities; the choice of how to act and press for change; the development of capacity (i.e. organization, internal governance and resources); and finally, a strategy to manage an often ambivalent mix of competition and cooperation with other ENGOs. The value of the framework is illustrated here by a case study of the French NGO ‘Humanité et Biodiversité’ (mankind and biodiversity), with dramatic changes in strategy to match and major strategic organizational challenges to be identified and resolved.


Biodiversity Strategic analysis Environmental NGO Ecological effectiveness 



The French Ministry for Higher Education and Research supported this research. We thank the Tour du Valat, for years of action research; and Dr. M. Leroy for a shared and fruitful work. We would also like to thank the director of Humanité et Biodiversité and all members of its Board for having accepted to be analysed, and for the results to be presented here as a case study. The analysis and conclusions contained in this study are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the point of view of that organization.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre des Sciences de la Conservation, UMR 7204Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  2. 2.Humanité et BiodiversitéParisFrance

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