Addressing poverty and ecological destruction
Thousands of species are at risk of extinction because of the unsustainable trade of wild animals (for meat, traditional medicines and skins) and agricultural commodities such as palm oil from lower- to higher-income countries. Yet trade is essential for national development and lifting people out of poverty. Can a balance be struck between the two?
This five-year project bringing together academics and important players in global trade (policymakers, industry, NGOs and government-led trade bodies) is aiming to do just that.
The GCRF-funded Trade, Development and the Environment Hub project, one part of which is co-led by the University of Reading’s Professor Elizabeth Robinson, will unpick and understand these complex problems from all angles and find solutions to enhance trade and alleviate poverty without reducing biodiversity.
Research is being carried out to understand the trade of live animals, skins, non-timber products and wild meat from both the supply and demand sides, and the social benefits and costs of wildlife supply chains. Different scenarios for trade policy and corporate decision-making will be modelled, and the hub will work with large companies including AB Agri, The Body Shop, Kering, Ingredion, Mars Inc, MacDonald's and Sainsbury’s to develop solutions.By the end of the project, the project team aims to develop realistic policy options to ensure wildlife trade flows will be more traceable and transparent, and local solutions to trade-related sustainability issues affecting people and wildlife can be found. The project will also aim to change at least one key trade flow between lower- and higher-income countries. By working closely with permanent agencies involved in global trade, this will set a course for future policy change after the project has finished.