The illegal trade of wildlife has been valued as high as $20 billion per year, making it the world's fourth most lucrative crime after drugs, human trafficking and arms.
As well as the cruelty underpinning this practice, demand for these products continues to fuel instability and criminality in countries supplying these products and the global transport industry is now taking steps to help stamp it out.
Under the presidency of the Duke of Cambridge, last year United for Wildlife set up a Transport Taskforce, chaired by the UK’s former foreign minister Lord William Hague, to engage commitment from across the international transport industry to refuse the carriage of illegal wildlife products.
In March last year the UK Chamber of Shipping was one of the first signatories to the resulting action plan known as the Buckingham Palace Declaration, and since then a further 40 transport companies from around the world have followed suit.
Earlier this week the UK Chamber attended the Transport Taskforce meeting at Lancaster House which highlighted two key objectives in achieving their mission:
An effective mechanism for shipping and airline companies to receive alerts about the suspected transport of illegal wildlife products and the routes and ports being used;
Improved industry data, due diligence and risk assessment to facilitate more effective screening by the transport industry and enforcement agencies.
Already the Transport Taskforce is piloting an intelligence clearinghouse system – effectively a database to consolidate information from NGOs and other sources available to transport companies signed up to the Declaration.
Recently the UK Chamber launched its own Environmental Resolution as a tool to encourage shipping companies to commit to United for Wildlife's mission. Member companies are invited to sign up to confirm their commitment to ending the carriage of illegal wildlife products onboard ships and the fostering of environmentally sustainable operations.
To learn more about the Environmental Resolution or to get involved, please click here.