Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem, and one which takes many different forms.
Broadly speaking, wildlife crime is the illegal exploitation of the world’s wild flora and fauna, while pollution crime is the trade and disposal of waste and hazardous substances in contravention of national and international laws.
In addition to these clear and present crimes, new types of environmental crime are emerging, such as carbon trade and water management crime.
Organized criminal networks
Environmental crime is not restricted by borders, and can affect a nation’s economy, security and even its existence.
A significant proportion of both wildlife and pollution crime is carried out by organized criminal networks, drawn by the low risk and high profit nature of these types of crime.
The same routes used to smuggle wildlife across countries and continents are often used to smuggle weapons, drugs and people. Indeed, environmental crime often occurs hand in hand with other offences such as passport fraud, corruption, money laundering and murder.
In today’s global economy there is a need for an international strategy to deal with this type of crime. As the only organization with a mandate to share and process criminal information globally, INTERPOL is uniquely qualified to lead these efforts.
At INTERPOL, we carry out the following activities:
- Leading global and regional operations to dismantle the criminal networks behind environmental crime using intelligence-driven investigations;
- Coordinating and developing international law enforcement best practice manuals, guides and other resources;
- Providing environmental law enforcement agencies with access to INTERPOL tools and services by enhancing their links with INTERPOL National Central Bureaus;
- Working with the Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee to shape strategy and direction.
Davyth Stewart, INTERPOL Environmental Security programme
David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit
INTERPOL Environmental Security Programme
For information in all official INTERPOL languages, see our Resources page.