En­vi­ron­men­tal crimes cost world econ $258B

Business Mirror - - THE WORLD - Bloomberg News

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL crimes are ris­ing due to weak laws and en­force­ment, cost­ing the global econ­omy as much as a record $258 bil­lion, about a quar­ter more than pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated, the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gram (Unep) and In­ter­pol said.

The groups re­leased a study on Satur­day, on the eve of World En­vi­ron­ment Day, that said the pro­ceeds from crimes, rang­ing from il­le­gal log­ging to the traf­fick­ing of haz­ardous waste and il­licit gold mining, are fund­ing rebel groups and crim­i­nal syn­di­cates.

The scourge in­cludes a rise in the poach­ing of ele­phants and rhi­nos, along with white- col­lar crimes, such as ex­ploit­ing the car­bon credit mar­ket.

Unep and In­ter­pol said en­vi­ron­men­tal crimes now cost be­tween $91 bil­lion and $258 bil­lion, com­pared with a 2014 es­ti­mate of $70 bil­lion to $213 bil­lion.

“The last decade has seen en­vi­ron­men­tal crime rise by at least 5 per­cent to 7 per­cent per year,” grow­ing two to three times faster than global eco­nomic out­put, they said in an e-mailed state­ment.

The agen­cies called for stronger ac­tions, such as leg­is­la­tion and sanc­tions, and for more in­vest­ment, say­ing in­ter­na­tional agen­cies’ spend­ing of $20 mil­lion to $30 mil­lion a year to com­bat the crimes is just a small frac­tion of the crim­i­nal pro­ceeds.

Their rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude dis­rupt­ing over­seas tax havens and boost­ing eco­nomic in­cen­tives to stop peo­ple “at the bot­tom of the en­vi­ron­men­tal crime chain” from get­ting in­volved.

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