For Immediate Release: April 4, 2016
U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance Announces Major New Commitments from Top U.S. Brands to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
Momentum to end wildlife trafficking grows significantly with additional commitments from Carnival Corporation, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Brilliant Earth, and Hidden Treasure Tours
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2016) – Four leading companies are making substantial commitments to combat wildlife trafficking today, in collaboration with the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (the Alliance). The announcement, which will be made at a public forum at National Geographic following a White House event on the issue, comes just four weeks after 16 other major corporations made groundbreaking commitments on World Wildlife Day to help stop consumer demand and cut off supply chains for illegal wildlife products.
“Today’s commitments demonstrate the growing momentum from businesses, conservation organizations, and the U.S. government to shut down demand for illegal wildlife products,” said David J. Hayes, Chair of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, which was founded last year to lead a broad coalition to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife products in the United States. “Leading companies from across the U.S. are sending a clear signal to traffickers that they will not turn a blind eye to this criminal activity. By partnering with additional corporations, as well as some of the largest wildlife NGOs in the nation, we are taking critical actions to protect species from extinction and empower American consumers to ‘be informed, buy informed.’”
The corporate commitments announced today are from leading companies in industries that wildlife traffickers try to use to sell their goods, and represent critical momentum needed in the Alliance’s effort to reduce wildlife trafficking. They include:
- Carnival Corporation, the largest leisure travel company in the world;
- Ben Bridge Jeweler, a leading U.S. jewelry retailer;
- Brilliant Earth, the global leader in ethically-sourced fine jewelry; and
- Hidden Treasure Tours, a New York-based worldwide tour operator.
As part of their commitments to the Alliance, these influential global businesses are agreeing to use their own resources to share best practices, communicate with their consumers about the pervasive problem of wildlife trafficking in the U.S., and take additional steps to ensure their supply chains are free from illegal wildlife products. Representatives from the companies will announce their commitments today at a public afternoon forum at National Geographic, a key Alliance partner, where U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and other Obama Administration officials will also speak.
“We are committed to a multi-pronged fight against wildlife trafficking and part of the solution means reducing demand and sales of illegal wildlife products right here at home,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, co-chair of the President’s Task Force on 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. 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.”
In a recent three-year period, approximately 100,000 elephants—one-fifth of the entire African elephant population—were killed for their ivory. Smaller rhino populations in Africa also are being decimated at rates of more than 1,000 killings per year; African lion populations have plummeted by almost 50 percent in the past three decades; and more than 1 million pangolins have been poached from the wild in the last decade alone.
In the United States, the wildlife trafficking industry is second only to the drug trade in profitability. Wildlife trafficking generates approximately $10 billion per year in illegal profits for criminal syndicates that are masterminding the killing, transport, and marketing of illegal wildlife products, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Department of State. U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that in addition to other criminal enterprises, wildlife trafficking is corrupting governments, undermining the rule of law, and helping to finance insurgent terrorist groups and organized crime.
“As the largest cruise company in the world, Carnival Corporation can be uniquely influential in educating consumers about how they can make informed choices and shut down the market for illegal wildlife products,” said Roger Frizzell, Chief Communications Officer for Carnival Corporation. “We look forward to being a leader in the travel industry – training our 120,000 employees around the globe to identify illegal and unsustainable products, and working with our suppliers and partners around the globe to eliminate the indirect sale of these goods.”
“We are proud to be part of this cross-industry effort to help our industry and our customers to shut down the illegal wildlife trade,” said Jon Bridge, Co-CEO and General Counsel of Ben Bridge Jeweler.“Ben Bridge does not sell ivory or other illegal wildlife products, and we are committed to keeping them out of our supply chain. By partnering with the Alliance, we will raise awareness among our customers, suppliers, retailers, and manufacturers, and encourage other jewelry retailers do the same.”
Representatives from major companies that commitments last month and have long worked to reduce wildlife trafficking with also participate in today’s announcement, which will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM89PQ5Rz70. For a full description of the announcement and company commitments, please visit USWTA.org.