Illegal waste dumping - an environmental crime?
Environmental crime often involves trade across borders
Industrial waste
Toxic Chemicals
A water pollution crime?
Illegal Logging

Policy Brief 15: Quantifying the Impacts of Environmental Crime

The EFFACE project undertook an evaluation of data and information sources for many types of environmental crime to confirm what quantified information on its impacts is available. The result was that the data are usually highly dispersed with limited detailed data collations. Such data are held by many organisations with various levels of accessibility. For the data that was accessed, it was often difficult to distinguish illegal impacts from general impacts and it can be difficult to link impact information to data of criminal activity. In no case is there a comprehensive assessment of all of the impacts of one type of environmental crime.

As a result it is not possible to provide a robust total figure of the overall impacts of environmental crime. There are too many gaps for this to be done with any confidence. EFFACE, therefore, undertook more detailed analysis to examine the quantitative and economic impacts of five types of environmental crime as it was found that they represented different types of crime with reasonable sources of data on impacts:

  • The impacts of arson events
  • The impacts of Illegal wildlife trade in rhino and elephant
  • The impacts of marine pollution
  • The impacts of illegal WEEE shipments from the EU to China
  • The impacts of illegal wildlife trade in Horsfieldii Tortoise

A common framework was followed, which involved the quantitative assessment of levels of illegal activity, the quantitative assessment of the impacts of that illegal activity and the economic impacts of the illegal activity. This brief explores the way that impacts of environmental crime can be measured, including for policy makers, using examples from the EFFACE research for illustration.