It takes a village, the old proverb says, and in the case of wildlife trafficking, it takes a global village. On World Wildlife Day (March 3), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) joined that village along with 16 other companies and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) pledging to crack down on wildlife trafficking and educate consumers on the dangers trafficking poses to animals around the world.
The illegal wildlife trade not only threatens the survival of many species in the wild but generates approximately $10 billion per year in illegal profits for sophisticated criminal syndicates that are masterminding the killing, transport and marketing of illegal wildlife products.
In February 2014, the White House released the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking to address the illegal killing, transport and sale of wildlife products around the world, and in the United States. The National Strategy acknowledged that the United States “is among the major markets for wildlife and wildlife products” and that it serves as a major “transit point” for “illegally taken wildlife entering the global trade.”
That Strategy also recognized the importance of the private sector and their unique position to ignite a consumer movement to make better purchase choices, including: technology, auction houses, digital marketplaces, travel (airlines and cruise lines), luxury fashion, and multi-media companies.
As a travel and hospitality company RCL is joining the cause by building awareness of wildlife crime and influencing buying behavior through the education of its 60,000 crew members and upwards of 5 million travelers annually. The cruise line also will work to identify and eliminate any indirect sale of products and souvenirs made from illegal wildlife products, through its on board shopping vendors and suppliers.
These commitments are part of a broader effort towards sustainability by Royal Caribbean. As part of its environmental stewardship program, Save the Waves, and global partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), RCL will work towards ensuring that its ships, operations, suppliers, and vendors are not indirectly promoting illegal wildlife products, and has committed to removing high risk seafood species from their procurement.
The global partnership with WWF is setting measurable and achievable sustainability targets that will reduce RCL’s environmental footprint, raise awareness about ocean conservation among the company’s more than five million guests, and support WWF’s global oceans conservation work.