BEIJING – Business leaders in China took a public stand today against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo, spearheaded the effort by 36 prominent Chinese to raise awareness of the ivory poaching crisis. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group.
"As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said Nubo. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet's wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations."
Recent surveys indicate a large portion of China’s population is unaware of the death toll to create ivory and rhino horn products, yet a greater number of residents support government enforced bans. (Read the ivory and rhino horn surveys.)
“The business elite in China, and the public, when aware of the problem, are very supportive of conservation,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights. “We are hopeful that the new administration under President Xi will act decisively to stop ivory trafficking and bring some relief to beleaguered African nations.”
The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.
With support from Chinese state media WildAid campaigns with celebrity ambassadors to reduce the demand of endangered wildlife products including shark fin, ivory, and rhino horn. Its shark fin campaign contributed to a reported 50% decline in the shark fin trade. In April 2013 the African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Elephants, WildAid, and the Yao Ming Foundation launched ivory and rhino horn campaigns in China.
The Ivory Pledge and its signatories are copied below:
In recent years, poaching as a result of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants. I'm aware of the following:
1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory
2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years
3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations
4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade
5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade
6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China's international reputation.
Because of this, I pledge the following:
1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift
2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products
Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina Corp
Deng Feng – CEO and Chairman, Beiji Guangfeng Investment Fund
Ding Liguo – Founder, Liguo Corp.
Feng Lun – Chairman, Vantone Holdings
Huang Nubo – Chairman, Zhongkun Group
Jiang Xipei – Chairman, Yuandong Holdings
Li Dongsheng – Chairman, TCL Group
Li Shufu – Chairman, Geely Group
Li Zhenfu – China Regional President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Liu Chuanzhi – Chairman, Lenovo
Liu Donghua – Founder, Zhenghedao Group
Liu Jiren – Chairman, Dongruan Group
Liu Jun – Deputy Chairman, Guangxi People’s Congress Committee
Ma Yun (Jack Ma) – Founder, Alibaba Group
Niu Gensheng – Founder, Lao Niu Foundation
Shen Guojun – CEO and Chairman, Yintai Holdings Corp.
Tang Yue – Founding Partner, Blue Mountain China Capital
Wang Chaoyong – Founder and President, Xinzhongli International Holdings
Wang Junhao – Deputy Chairman, Junyao Group
Wang Lifen – Founder, Beijing Youshimi Internet Technology Co. Ltd.
Wang Wenjing – CEO and Chairman, Yongyou Software Corp.
Wang Zhongjun – Chairman, Huaiyi Brothers Media Corp.
Wu Jianmin – Deputy Director, China External Affairs Committee
Wu Yajun – Chairman, Longhu Group
Xia Hua – Chairman, Yiwen Enterprise Group
Xie Mian – Art and culture critic
Xu Shaochun – Founder, Jindie Software Group
Xu Zhihong – Scholar, China Academy of Science
Yang Shaopeng – Chairman, Haifeng International Shipping Corp.
Yu Minhong – Founder, New Oriental Group
Yuan Yue – Chaiman, Lingdian Consulting
Zhang Weiying – Renowned Economist
Zhang Xingsheng ( Jim Zhang) – Managing Directory, The Nature Conservancy Greater China Region
Zhou Qiren – Dean, Peking University National Development Academy
Zhou Qifeng – Renowned Chemist
Zhu Xinli – Chairman, Beijing Huiyuan Beverage Company