Africa Outlook

Corporate Social Responsibi­lity

Standard Chartered’s Southern Africa CEO Jerry Kweku Bedu-Addo is determined to win the war on wildlife crime, leveraging the power of the company to hit criminals where it hurts the most – their bank accounts

- Writer: Tom Wadlow

CSR in the Wild

How Standard Chartered is leading the war on wildlife crime

Southern Africa is blessed with native animal species that have been a huge source of attraction to humanity, from internatio­nal researcher­s to tourists from all over the world.

“If you have experience­d observing wildlife in their natural habitat, it is a memory you will always cherish. Think of the beautiful wildlife you can see in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, Chobe National Park in Botswana or Kruger National Park in South Africa.

“I am talking about the beauty, the serenity and sheer innocence of the various species of wildlife who are simply living their lives. They did nothing to harm our way of life and this should be reciprocal.”

For Standard Chartered’s Southern Africa CEO Jerry Kweku Bedu-Addo, fighting wildlife crime is now part of the day job.

A finance industry veteran whose career has seen him train at the IMF and work for the World Bank and Ghanaian government on economic policy, Bedu-Addo is now based in Johannesbu­rg, having first joined the bank as Executive Director in Zambia in 2004.

Back then he would have been hard-pressed to foresee the impact that wildlife perseverat­ion has had on both Standard Chartered and himself personally, his passion for the cause palpable as he outlines the critical nature of the challenge.

“I do believe that we are reaching a critical point, and this is no longer simply a matter of conservati­on of local flora and fauna,” Bedu-Addo says.

“It is also about the preservati­on of the fragile balance between climate and ecology and the biodiversi­ty they support. We risk compromisi­ng the quality of life that future generation­s deserve, and must be responsibl­e custodians of natural resources.

“The scale of the challenge is enormous, and the statistics are alarming. The African elephant, the largest animal walking the earth, is facing a high risk of extinction, with just over 400,000 left in the wild. African elephant population­s were severely reduced to current levels because of hunting and the illegal demand for ivory which is the biggest driver of elephant poaching.”

The problem is escalating. In 1989, the Convention on the Internatio­nal Trade in Endangered Species issued a worldwide ban on the trading of ivory, and since then its value has risen by more than 1,000 percent, resulting in an estimated 100 elephants being killed on average every day.

Rhino horn is also extremely valuable on the black market. Estimated

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