The 2017 World Customs Union Illegal Trade Report estimated the profit from the illegal trade in flora and fauna to be between US$91- 258 billion per year. The report stated that according to the United Nations Environment Programme, this trade is growing at 2-3 times the pace of the global economy. Where is the evidence to show that conservation organisations, from WWF to the IUCN, ‘partnering’ business is driving down the illegal trade?
The industrial scale of biodiversity loss means ALL forms of greenwashing must be interrogated and exposed.
What is the point of the conservation convenors setting a clear, measurable goal – reducing the illegal online trade in wildlife by 80% by 2020 – then providing no useful reporting on the progress towards the goal? Has the illegal online trade in endangered species been reduced at all? Maybe it has even increased? We are left guessing because of the frankly useless information being reported. It is yet another case of too much noise and too little substance.
So back to my earlier question, is it time for conservation organisations to stop lending their brands to industry greenwashing? They are lucky that currently too few people are paying attention and questioning conservation’s complicit behaviour in greenwashing. But this will change.
Ironically, according to Google Trends, over the last 5 years the searches and discussions on the topic of ‘greenwashing’ are consistently growing in popularity, including the topic of environmental and social corporate governance (ESGs):