Nature Needs More works on tackling the key systemic enablers of the illegal wildlife trade, including consumer demand for wildlife products and the deficiencies in the legal trade system under CITES.
We pioneered demand reduction campaigns for rhino horn based on the insights of behavioural science, anti-smoking campaigns and road safety campaigns. To truly tackle the demand for any illegal wildlife product, the final step is to redirect the desire to consume endangered species to other ways of gaining status.
Through our research we know that the illegal trade cannot be tackled without addressing longstanding deficiencies in the legal trade system. In the last 12 months we have worked extensively to understand how CITES needs to be modernised and resourced to close the glaring loopholes in the legal wildlife trade system which are exploited by the illegal trade. This work has led us to propose changes to the CITES convention starting with the implementation of a traceable, transparent and secure electronic permitting system.
Beyond fixing the permit system, we are pushing for proper industry regulation based on a ‘business pays’ model as used in other industries where the Precautionary Principle is applied and enforced (such as pharmaceuticals).
Companies benefiting from the legal trade in endangered species need to address the destructive pseudo-luxury market, which drives the desire for endangered species. Nature Needs More is pushing to ensure wildlife is factored into the evolving sustainable (luxury) fashion strategy; currently it is not.
To reduce demand for wildlife products, we need to test new ways to support impoverished communities bordering key wildlife populations when the sustainable use approach is not a valid approach. Nature Needs More has developed a basic income linked to conservation model for this purpose and we have designed a pilot project for which we are currently seeking funding.