Environmental crime

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.

INTERPOL's response

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.
28 July 2015

Elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn trafficking cases addressed at INTERPOL meeting

19 June 2015

Events in Jordan seek to boost environmental security in the region

05 June 2015

INTERPOL operation against wildlife trafficking marks World Environment Day

04 June 2015

Combating corruption in the forestry sector focus of INTERPOL training in Malaysia

20 May 2015

Sudan police host INTERPOL National Environment Security Seminar

03 March 2015

INTERPOL encourages global action on World Wildlife Day

23 February 2015

Zambia hosts INTERPOL training session against wildlife crime

16 February 2015

Nepal’s top wildlife criminal nabbed in Malaysia

12 February 2015

Uniting West African efforts to tackle illegal timber trade focus of INTERPOL workshop

15 January 2015

New Zealand requests INTERPOL Purple Notices to identify networks behind illegal fishing

24 December 2014

Tanzanian police hold suspected Kenyan ivory smuggling ring leader targeted in INTERPOL operation

19 December 2014

Hundreds of animals seized in operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia

22 December 2014

INTERPOL report on illegal bear trade highlights need for greater enforcement coordination

10 December 2014

Suspected illegal ivory trader targeted in INTERPOL operation arrested in Zambia

05 December 2014

Fisheries crime investigations supported by INTERPOL training

05 December 2014

INTERPOL holds wildlife crime training in Botswana

27 November 2014

INTERPOL environmental working group meetings enhance collaboration

21 November 2014

INTERPOL holds training courses to tackle forest crime in South America

17 November 2014

INTERPOL seeks public assistance to locate environmental crime fugitives in global operation

13 November 2014

From the crime scene to the courtroom: ICCWC release Guidelines on ivory

24 October 2014

INTERPOL holds regional wildlife enforcement training in East Africa

07 October 2014

INTERPOL announces formation of dedicated environmental crime team in Africa

19 September 2014

INTERPOL holds wildlife crime training in Namibia

31 August 2014

Combating wildlife crime in South Asia focus of Nepal meeting

19 August 2014

Rebuilding police capabilities focus of INTERPOL Chief visit to Central African Republic

25 July 2014

Trade in illegal timber target of INTERPOL and WCO-supported operation in Peru

30 June 2014

Environment Canada and INTERPOL unite to fight pollution crimes

26 June 2014

Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda unite efforts to combat illegal timber trade in East Africa

24 June 2014

Illegal trade in wildlife and timber products finances criminal and militia groups, threatening security and sustainable development

11 June 2014

French environmental champion visits INTERPOL to advance common efforts to protect the planet

05 June 2014

Police and public unite behind INTERPOL campaign to #TurnBackCrime

02 June 2014

INTERPOL chief joint mission to Guinea Bissau with UN Special Representative for West Africa focuses on law enforcement capacity

03 April 2014

INTERPOL report highlights need for greater operational response to preserve tigers

26 March 2014

First e-learning tool launched to prevent illegal trade in hazardous chemicals and waste

21 March 2014

Clear-cut crime scenes: Why the International Day of Forests matters

03 March 2014

On World Wildlife Day, INTERPOL renews commitment to environmental security

25 February 2014

Response to elephant poaching and ivory trafficking focus of new INTERPOL report

13 February 2014

Global cooperation vital against soaring wildlife crime, INTERPOL President tells London conference

11 February 2014

President of Guinea discusses security needs with INTERPOL Chief

10 February 2014

Togo role in fighting wildlife and transnational crime focus of INTERPOL Chief visit

30 January 2014

Themis Network visits INTERPOL to strengthen environmental security in Balkans

22 January 2014

South Africa requests INTERPOL Notices for vessels suspected of illegal fishing and crew abuse

06 December 2013

Nepal requests INTERPOL Red Notice for wanted rhino poacher

05 December 2013

Countries unite to identify illegal fishing vessel via INTERPOL

29 November 2013

Ivory and illegal timber seized in INTERPOL-coordinated operation across Africa

07 November 2013

INTERPOL launches Project Eden to target illegal waste

06 November 2013

INTERPOL-UNEP conference aims to develop global roadmap against environmental crime

06 November 2013

Costa Rica uses INTERPOL Purple Notice to warn about illegal shark finning

25 October 2013

INTERPOL and partners crack down on illegal e-waste trade

10 September 2013

INTERPOL African conference in Algeria unites regional law enforcement against transnational crime

06 September 2013

Norway requests first INTERPOL notice for illegal fishing

30 August 2013

INTERPOL hosts delegation from United Kingdom environmental agencies

02 August 2013

INTERPOL report warns carbon trading at increased risk of criminal exploitation

26 July 2013

INTERPOL member countries continue fight against illegal logging in Latin America

22 July 2013

Ivory trafficking in West and Central Africa targeted in INTERPOL operation with IFAW support

12 July 2013

INTERPOL meeting strengthens response to wildlife crime in Southeast Asia

11 July 2013

Responding to fisheries crime in Southern and Eastern Africa focus of INTERPOL meeting

05 July 2013

INTERPOL meeting in South Asia aims to improve wildlife crime investigation skills

27 June 2013

INTERPOL-UNEP manual alerts authorities to methods of smuggling dangerous chemicals

21 June 2013

INTERPOL’s global tools strengthening European security

05 June 2013

Celebrating World Environment Day – INTERPOL calls for greater international cooperation on environment security

03 June 2013

INTERPOL meeting aims to strengthen cooperation on environmental crime activities

22 May 2013

INTERPOL and IFAW agreement boosts global fight against wildlife crime

03 May 2013

Protecting forests focus of INTERPOL training course

21 March 2013

Combating illegal logging key to saving our forests and preventing climate change

07 March 2013

Online ivory trade worth millions, INTERPOL report reveals

05 March 2013

Protecting wildlife and forests from organized crime focus of global consortium meeting

26 February 2013

INTERPOL launches Project Scale to combat fisheries crime

25 February 2013

INTERPOL operation targets illegal trade of e-waste in Europe, Africa

19 February 2013

Latin American countries in first INTERPOL operation against illegal logging

23 January 2013

Nepal police seize tiger parts and arrest seven during intelligence-led actions

21 December 2012

European Commission funding to boost INTERPOL fight against wildlife crime

21 December 2012

Use of intelligence in environmental investigations focus of INTERPOL training in Nepal

04 December 2012

INTERPOL operations in Asia lead to seizure of live tigers and other protected species

30 November 2012

Mozambique seeks to enhance environmental security with INTERPOL seminar

26 November 2012

INTERPOL supports wildlife crime investigations and operations in western Africa

24 October 2012

USAID funding for INTERPOL-led wild tiger protection campaign supporting South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network

19 October 2012

China hosts its first National Environmental Security Seminar with INTERPOL support

27 September 2012

Illegal logging nets organized crime up to 100 billion dollars a year, INTERPOL–UNEP report reveals

13 September 2012

Environmental officers go back to their roots in joint INTERPOL and Brazilian Federal Police initiative

29 August 2012

Pangolin traffickers arrested in INTERPOL operation across Asia

25 July 2012

Thousands arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting illegal trade in birds

27 July 2012

INTERPOL and Environment Canada share expertise to fight wildlife crime

29 July 2012

INTERPOL wildlife operation results mark Global Tiger Day

05 June 2012

INTERPOL launches Project LEAF to combat illegal logging worldwide

30 March 2012

Enforcement chiefs at INTERPOL-UNEP inaugural meeting design blueprint for environmental security

19 December 2011

INTERPOL leads crackdown on illegal wildlife markets in Asia

16 December 2011

International workshop focuses on controlled delivery strategy against forest and wildlife crime

02 November 2011

Call issued to save wild tigers from extinction

29 August 2011

INTERPOL-supported training aims to curb wildlife trafficking across Southern Africa