The campaign will run in titles including The Economist and The Wall Street Journal Europe.
The creative depicts America's Hoover Dam on the Colorado River as a tombstone. It aims to show the dam's negative effects, which involve it halting the flow of the river to the surrounding habitat and river valley.
The message is reinforced by the slogan inscribed on the tombstone, which reads: "The true cost of a dam never shows up on a balance sheet."
Dr Ute Collier, who heads the WWF's Dam Right Initiative, said: "We are trying to show potential investors that dams are not always the best option, and that often alternative options exist that extend power and water services to the poor. With 2003 being the International Year of Freshwater, water issues are high on the agenda, and with the ad we want to draw attention to constructive solutions."
The creative work supports the charity's recently produced Investor's Guide to Dams, which is being circulated to advertising managers and media owners of business and financial publications.
Media planning and buying is through MindShare.
The campaign was written by Michael Crowe and art directed by Robert Messeter. Photography was by Larry Dale Gordon.