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.
21 March 2017

International Day of Forests: INTERPOL's global role in environmental security

20 March 2017

INTERPOL issues Red Notice against suspected ivory smuggler

10 March 2017

INTERPOL programme to combat financial crimes in forestry sector launched in Indonesia

02 March 2017

Anti-wildlife trafficking operation results in global arrests and seizures

17 February 2017

INTERPOL launches training programme on digital forensics in maritime investigations

20 January 2017

INTERPOL launches new project targeting African-Asian wildlife crime links

18 January 2017

Strengthening policing capacity across Asia focus of INTERPOL meeting in Nepal

09 December 2016

Global corruption in forestry sector worth USD 29 billion a year – INTERPOL report

18 October 2016

Enhancing environmental security through cooperation

22 September 2016

INTERPOL holds advanced training course for wildlife crime analysts

12 July 2016

1,500 police in operation targeting crime networks across Eastern and Southern Africa

06 July 2016

Collaborative efforts to combat the illegal trade in shahtoosh shawls

04 June 2016

UNEP-INTERPOL report: value of environmental crime up 26%

20 May 2016

Targeting organized crime networks behind illegal fishing focus of INTERPOL meeting

04 May 2016

Organized crime networks behind ivory and rhino horn trafficking targeted in East Africa

15 April 2016

INTERPOL training in Argentina targets corruption in the forestry sector

25 March 2016

Namibian President discusses global security issues with INTERPOL Secretary General

21 March 2016

International Day of Forests: the role of environmental security

18 March 2016

Spanish operation nets suspects behind illegal fishing

03 March 2016

INTERPOL supporting global action on World Wildlife Day