U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


We are interested in the relationship between corruption and environmental crime. In particular, what are the vulnerabilities (people, policy, procedures) that could be exploited corruptly in this area? What recommendations would you make to developed countries to counter corruption in this area? Are there examples of international best practice that have been particularly effective? We are most interested in the Asia-Pacific region.


We are currently conducting an assessment of corruption risks, including in the area of environmental crime, and are interested in your view of the threat posed by corruption and environmental crime. We are particularly interested in the areas of illegal trade in ozone depleting substances and illegal trade in hazardous waste.


1. Environmental crime and corruption
2. Dumping and illegal transport of hazardous waste
3. Illegal trade in ozone depleting substances
4. References
5. Additional resources


There is little research on the relationship between environmental crime and corruption, particularly on crimes such as illegal trade in ozone depleting substances and hazardous waste. The vast majority of literature in the field of environmental crime and corruption focuses on the forestry sector, namely illegal logging activities.


Environmental crime covers activities ranging from illegal logging, illegal trade in ozone depleting substances, dumping and illegal transport of hazardous wastes, to unreported fishing. It often includes a transnational dimension, which makes it highly profitable. It poses serious threats to the environment, contributing to poverty and food insecurity. It can weaken the state due to organised crime activities and corruption.

Corruption can be considered a catalyst for environmental crime. In particular, corruption plays an important role in facilitating fraudulent trade, forging import/export certificates, clearing customs wrongly, ignoring illegal waste disposal, issuing licenses, among others. Corruption in this case may affect a variety of actors, including customs officials, landowners, organised crime groups, police, shipping firms, and exporters/importers.

Research on environmental crime and corruption tends to focus on illegal logging as opposed to other types of environmental crime such as illegal trafficking in ozone depleting substances and hazardous waste. At the request of the enquirer, this answer attempts to analyse the corruption vulnerabilities in these two underresearched areas. We also look at recommendations, and successful enforcement initiatives at the regional and global levels.


Maira Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected] Robin Hodess Ph.D, Transparency International, [email protected]




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