New Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance Announces Major Corporate Commitments to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Bringing together unlikely partners to tackle complex global issues like wildlife trafficking, especially when the issues seem far removed from the products we use, is a major challenge. But leaders in transport, e-commerce, fashion and jewelry, and philanthropy all have a role to play to close down markets to illegal products.

As part of the Administration’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking to stop the illegal trade of wildlife into the United States, President Obama announced the formation of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) on July 31, 2015. RESOLVE played a catalytic role in building the USWTA partnership.

Today, sixteen leading companies, many building on previous efforts, announced jointly that they will not support illegal wildlife trade and will share best practices, communicate with their consumers about the widespread problem of wildlife trafficking in the U.S., and take steps to ensure their supply chains are free from illegal wildlife products. RESOLVE commends them for their leadership.

Working Together to Shut Down the Illegal Wildlife Trade

RESOLVE is honored to be working with USWTA leaders including Chair and former Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes, Michael Kowalski, Chair of the Board at Tiffany & Co. and Dave Stewart, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Vulcan Inc., among others, with USWTA to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products and mobilize companies to adopt best practices to ensure that their goods and services are not being utilized by illegal wildlife traffickers.

Hayes, who is also a former RESOLVE Board Member, captured the purpose of this partnership: “The Alliance is honored to partner with leading companies, conservation organizations, and the U.S. government to educate U.S. consumers and shut down U.S. demand for illegal wildlife products. By putting our wallets in line with our values we can work together to protect these treasured species for the benefit of our planet, our security, and future generations.”

Wildlife Trafficking Facts

Wildlife trafficking, which is fueled by the illegal killing of hundreds of thousands of animals, is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. Animals are killed to meet consumer demand for jewelry, clothing, and medicine, carvings, souvenirs, and art or other household decorations made from tusks, horns, fur, and skins. Money from the illegal wildlife trade funds has been linked to terrorist organizations, drug lords, gangs, and corrupt governments—all at the expense of wild animals, the environment, and our national security.

RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program works to conserve wildlife and wild places by applying cutting-edge data and technology from sectors as broad as defense, communications, surveillance, and medicine to provide solutions to wildlife poaching and human-wildlife conflict.

The Role of USWTA

The USWTA is a voluntary coalition of non-profit organizations, companies, foundations and media interests that work closely with the U.S. Government to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife products in the United States, a major consumer of illegally trafficked animal products.

The USWTA will help build consumer awareness of the impact of buying wildlife-related products—especially those from iconic, high-value species such as tigers, elephants, and rhinos—and the role played by illegal traffickers in funding global corruption and terrorism.

USWTA partners have committed to help educate customers and send a message to illegal wildlife distributors that their products are not welcome here. Business partners are also committing to ensure their supply chains are free of illegally-trafficked products.

The effort builds from the good work that many of these companies are already undertaking in their supply chains. USWTA will help share these best practices and support further innovation, but we need more companies to lead by example. USWTA aims to expand this initial partnership among leading businesses to target vulnerabilities in supply chains and trading routes and cut off market access for illegal wildlife products.

The US Government Commends USWTA

“We have made good progress in cracking down on this illegal market through cooperation across governments, but the private sector has an important role to play in these efforts,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, co-chair of the President’s Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking. “I applaud the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and the leadership of David Hayes in encouraging thoughtful businesses and non-profits to step up with strong commitments to stop this scourge.”

The United States can be a global leader in helping to save wildlife from illegal killing. Government, business, and consumers can work together to protect these treasured species for the benefit of our planet, our security, and future generations.

-Stephen D’Esposito, President

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