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TRAFFIC brings hospitality enterprises together to stop illegal wildlife trade

12 January 2017

Hanoi, Viet Nam— In December, nearly 50 representatives from hotel and tourism enterprises were equipped with the tools to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies that reject the consumption of illegally traded wildlife at a workshop in Hanoi. The workshop, facilitated by TRAFFIC, the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR), and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) recruited businesses in the hospitality sector to become champions against wildlife crime.
Representatives of the nine businesses attending signed pledges to adopt wildlife protection into their CSR policies and integrate messages for protecting wildlife into their activities. The participants received a CSR guide, developed in partnership with VCCI, and training to facilitate the adoption of socially responsible policies throughout their business practices.

TRAFFIC is empowering different sectors in Viet Nam to lead the fight against illegal wildlife trade and consumption and this is the first workshop with a prime focus on the hospitality industry,” said Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC’s Viet Nam office.

“We know consumer tourism takes place in Viet Nam and hotels and tourism companies are uniquely suited to promote zero-tolerance towards illegal wildlife consumption—they are experts at customer relations and they interact with hundreds of thousands of international and national tourists every year.” “Businesses in the hospitality sector can now join the thousands of other businesses in Viet Nam in the fight against illegal wildlife trade by encouraging their guests to be responsible tourists.”
Through the Chi Initiative, TRAFFIC and partner organisations have actively engaged with more than 7 000 businesses in Viet Nam, creating ‘Chi Champions’ who are now spreading the message to shift consumer behaviour away from trafficked wildlife products.

The workshop focused on the reputational risks businesses face regarding any association with illegal wildlife trade and consumption practices. Participants learned about the latest developments in wildlife trafficking in Viet Nam and world-wide and about the updated penal code in Viet Nam that will come into effect in 2017, under which harsher criminal penalties will be imposed on individuals and businesses implicated in the illegal trade or consumption of wildlife.

Delegates brainstormed ways to mitigate risks and create an action plan to integrate wildlife protection into their policies and practices. CSR was put forward as a key tool to enhance a company’s reputation while reducing the risk of being complicit in wildlife crimes and participants where trained on how CSR can be integrated throughout their business practices.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of ITDR said, “Hospitality enterprises face many potential risks from illegal wildlife consumption. This workshop was a great chance to enhance knowledge and engage hospitality enterprises to adopt zero tolerance towards illegal wildlife consumption. ITDR is committed to sustainable and legal tourist development. After the workshop, we can develop an action plan where ITDR and businesses in the hospitality sector can co-operate and integrate wildlife protection into their CSR policies.”

The workshop, funded by Peace Parks Foundation as part of its Rhino Protection Programme, is a component of TRAFFIC’s demand reduction strategy of encouraging businesses throughout Viet Nam to become leaders in their respective fields by adopting CSR policies that reject the consumption of threatened protected wildlife. Companies who sent representatives to the meeting were: Hanoitourist Travel company, Hongai Tours company, VIDOTOUR company, Saigontourism company, Thang Long, Opera Hotel, Hotel Nikko Hanoi, Eviva Tour Vietnam, Tien Phong Travel and UB tour.

Story and photos courtesy of TRAFFIC - the willife trade monitoring network

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