A conservationist sends out a fake press release about a highly polluting coal development; national opprobrium follows. But where's the outcry when a conservation group cosies up to business, allowing the use of its logo on a product some experts say is environmentally harmful in return for an undisclosed sum?
There have long been rumblings within the green movement about the fundraising practices of WWF, a big international player which bills itself as "the largest conservation organisation in Australia"
(it turned over $24 million domestically last year). The latest case involves a microscopic Antarctic beast, a vitamin giant and a mystery sack of cash.
WWF-Australia signed a three-year deal with health product purveyors Blackmores in late 2012 to promote its Eco Krill Oil
, which is made from krill taken from Antarctic waters. The oil is said to provide "omega-3s for brain, heart and eye health". Blackmores gets to use the WWF logo on its krill oil, in exchange for Blackmores paying WWF an amount of money which neither party will reveal publicly.
The trade is substantial; WWF says more then 20 million capsules of krill oil are chugged down in Australia each year, worth more than $15 million.