Apr 15 2016 Working across sectors in the United States to curb wildlife trafficking
The sale of illegal wildlife products— such as tiger hides, rhino horns, and ivory — continues to occur across the globe. In order to keep illegal wildlife products out of U.S. companies’ supply chains and curb customer demand, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (the Alliance) has recently received commitments from 20 private-sector companies, including retailers and tourism and internet companies, to work together with conservation organizations and the federal government to fight wildlife trafficking.
“Together with the commitments that corporate partners are making, we are taking a firm stance against the killing and trafficking of rare and iconic wildlife.”
The Alliance is led by the U.S. Department of the Interior and its wildlife agency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Together with the commitments that corporate partners are making, we are taking a firm stance against the killing and trafficking of rare and iconic wildlife,” stated U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who also serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, at a public forum held on April 4. Jewell also explained that “these corporate leaders are helping to educate the buying public and working to craft better business practices that we hope will continue to influence industry and trade.” The corporations include eBay, Etsy, Tiffany & Co., Ralph Lauren, Google, and Carnival Corporation.
A press release from the Alliance states that the United States is a leading market for illegal wildlife products, which include jewelry, hides, and trinkets. While many of these illegal wildlife products come from outside the United States, there’s much headway to be made through domestic interventions to staunch the flow of these products into the country.
“Behind the strength of committed conservation organizations, responsible corporate entities, and proactive government leadership, we have seen remarkable progress.”
John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, a founding member of the the Alliance, highlighted the importance of each sector’s participation in this work in a recent press release: “Behind the strength of committed conservation organizations, responsible corporate entities, and proactive government leadership, we have seen remarkable progress.” The U.S. government has long been a leader in wildlife conservation — for example, passing the African Elephant Conservation Act in 1988. The business and non-profit sectors are integral in generating public pressure for such legislation. Leading companies that partner with the Alliance use their own resources to share best practices, take actions to ensure their supply chains do not include illegal wildlife products, and raise customer awareness about the issue of wildlife trafficking. For example, Carnival Corporation, the largest leisure travel company in the world, has committed to training their 120,000 employees to identify illegal and unsustainable products, thus helping to educate consumers about making informed choices. Carnival will also work with their suppliers and partners to stop the indirect sale of illegal wildlife products.