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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.
News
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


22 December 2015

Elephant ivory and rhino horn trafficking targeted across Africa in Operation Worthy II


21 December 2015

New strategy to combat tiger crime welcomed by INTERPOL


01 December 2015

INTERPOL holds environmental security seminar in Colombia


26 November 2015

INTERPOL operations target illegal timber trade in Africa and the Americas


23 November 2015

Tackling wildlife crime focus of INTERPOL meeting


20 November 2015

INTERPOL meeting aims to develop strategy to curb tiger crime


17 November 2015

Roadmap for environmental security created by INTERPOL-UNEP conference


16 November 2015

INTERPOL and IFAW reinforce cooperation in combating wildlife crime


16 November 2015

INTERPOL-UNEP conference to tackle most pressing environmental crime issues


12 November 2015

Security and Environmental Crime conference issues call for action


06 November 2015

INTERPOL’s role in combating illegal fishing recognized


02 November 2015

World’s police chiefs to address global threats at INTERPOL General Assembly in Rwanda


23 October 2015

Strategy to combat illegal wildlife trade in Central Asia marks International Snow Leopard Day


14 October 2015

Switzerland alerts police worldwide on new environmental crime smuggling route


13 October 2015

INTERPOL-supported illegal fishing investigations lead to prosecution


21 September 2015

Singapore leads transnational ivory trafficking investigation


31 August 2015

INTERPOL-coordinated EU project outlines roadmap against unregulated e-waste


25 August 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Singapore gathers fisheries investigators


21 August 2015

INTERPOL’s Project Leaf looks to boost efforts against forestry crime in Asia and East Africa


19 August 2015

Transnational fisheries investigations focus of INTERPOL trainings in Southeast Asia


07 August 2015

INTERPOL hosts meetings on forestry and fisheries crime in Central and South America


29 July 2015

On Global Tiger Day, INTERPOL commends member country efforts to protect the species


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


Davyth Stewart, INTERPOL Environmental Security programme

David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit

INTERPOL Environmental Security Programme

Language versions

For information in all official INTERPOL languages, see our Resources page.