EFFORTS TO COMBAT climate change ignore the issue of dirty profits from environmental crime – and this needs to change, the Financial Action Task Force President has warned.
At a high-level conference this week attended by dignitaries and senior politicians from across the globe, Dr Pleyer warned that preventing climate change meant preventing dirty money too, otherwise efforts would be compromised.
“Tackling money laundering linked to environmental crime is an often-overlooked part of a much larger solution to helping save our climate,” he told the conference.
“At the moment, far too often, criminals and their gangs are getting away with it. They make billions from looting our planet.”
He was speaking just weeks after making similar warnings to the many concerned delegations at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
There, he described environmental crime as a “low risk, high reward,” trend that robs the world of more than $281BN every year, and growing.
Although environmental crime had historically taken less of the limelight, its growing profitability and relevance to the green movement have seen its importance surge in recent years.
It is why FATF is calling on countries to get tough on it; to introduce laws, collect data, and continue aiding law enforcement to track and shut down criminal operations that harm the environment.
“The work FATF is doing is vital in this fight,” said UN Environmental Program Executive Director Inger Andersen, who was also in attendance.
“The fight will be long. It will be hard. But if we work together, we can succeed.”
They were words echoed by several other experts and leaders in global climate change – including Norway’s environment minister, the executive director of the UN office on drugs and crime, and the secretary-general of CITES, dedicated to wildlife protection.
The conference even heard from Britain’s Prince William, who stressed that countries needed to make combatting environmental crime a priority.
“Now is the time for action,” he said.
“We need to draw on the collective expertise across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to identify these criminal networks and bring them to justice.”
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