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Shanghai World Financial Center, China. Photo: Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Banking Sector in China

Shanghai World Financial Center, China. Photo: Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

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Published 14th April 2021

  Chinese 

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Banking sector must take zero-tolerance approach to illegal wildlife trade

Cambridge, UK - 14 April 2021: Chinese banks must take action to prevent illegal wildlife traffickers from exploiting their networks to launder money says TRAFFIC. The non-governmental organisation, which works globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, is today releasing resources that indicate how Chinese banks are at risk of greater scrutiny and pressure from governments and institutional investors if they fail to act on the illegal trade of wildlife.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Banking Sector in China: The Need for a Zero-Tolerance Approach

Report author(s):
Rory Sullivan, Heleen van de Weerd, TRAFFIC

Publication date:
April 2021


Notes:

Development of the resources was kindly supported by:

  • Germany’s ‘Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade’, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)’.
  • The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (DEFRA) through the “Reducing Demand for Wildlife Products among Chinese Nationals in Laos” project.

NOTES TO EDITORS

TRAFFIC has published the following resources for banks and institutional investors:

  • The Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Banking Sector in China: The Need for a Zero-Tolerance Approach
  • Briefing note for Institutional Investors: The Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Banking Sector in China: The Need for a Zero-Tolerance Approach

Briefing Note for Institutional Investors 

 

About the reports and guides

The reports have been prepared to provide practical guidance to banks in China, Vietnam and Lao PDR on the systems and processes that they need to have in place to manage the business risks associated with the illegal wildlife trade and thereby play a key role in combating that trade. They advise that banks should integrate commitments to zero tolerance of the illegal wildlife trade into their systems and processes for managing anti-money laundering and corruption, and into their corporate social responsibility strategies.

The guide for institutional investors makes the case for taking action against money laundering from the illegal wildlife trade and outlines the role that investors can play in encouraging Chinese and Vietnamese banks to take effective action on the illegal wildlife trade. For example, this can include encouraging banks to make a formal commitment to zero tolerance of the illegal wildlife trade and to integrate these commitments into their anti-money laundering systems and processes. The guide provides suggestions for how investors can engage with banks in an attempt to effect real change within these organisations.

The illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts and products globally is estimated to be worth billions of US dollars annually, ranking alongside the illegal trafficking of narcotics, arms, and humans.[1][2] The consequences of the illegal wildlife trade are devastating. The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 2019 Assessment identified that a million species are at risk of extinction and that the second most significant driver of biodiversity loss is ‘direct exploitation’ which is sometimes driven by trade.[3]

 


[1] https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/13210/web-beyond-the-poaching-offender-survey.pdf

[2] https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2014/May/wildlife-crime-worth-8-10-billion-annually.html

[3] https://ipbes.net/document-library-catalogue/summary-policymakers-global-assessment-laid-out