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 2: Organised Environmental Crime

EFFACE Policy Brief 2, Organised Environmental Crime: The need for combating environmental crime as a serious and organised category of offense, calls for greater EU priority in combating environmental crime. Such crimes can be difficult to identify in overall crime statistics and in their impacts on victims, but the results of this type of illegal activity have consequences for economies, human health, biodiversity and good governance.

The Policy Brief highlights examples of environmental crimes that impact Europe and beyond. The EFFACE project is researching environmental crime as a concern that can be elevated at the EU level for more effective coordination in enforcing environmental laws and limiting the harmful impacts of this complex criminal activity. 

Transnational, sophisticated and serious, many environmental crimes are committed by networks of actors  in supply countries, transit zones, and consumer destinations – and such activity may also constitute organised crime. Concerted cooperation of actors in various countries is needed to combat a range of offenses that include the following:

  • Toxic and electronic waste transported within Europe and to West Africa
  • Ivory trafficked from Africa – through EU ports – to China and the United States
  • Logs felled in Malaysia and transported under false documents to the EU
  • Buying and selling of arms by groups to kill animals and murder rivals
  • Bribing customs officials and issuers of permits and certifications
  • Employing lawyers, notaries, casino owners and bankers to launder criminal funds

Policy Brief 2 calls for broader awareness that environmental crimes often involve other serious crimes in their operations, as it presents its case for a higher EU priority that can help enhance Member State coordination against such criminal offences.