Green Corruption

Green Corruption at the Basel Institute is a multi-disciplinary programme targeting environmental degradation through an anti-corruption and governance approach.

Financial crime drives environmental degradation

Corruption and weak governance are key enablers of environmental crime, which in turn exacerbates small-scale offences into devastating environmental degradation, existentially threatening both animal and human populations.

Environmental criminals use corruption and fraud to engage in illegal wildlife trade, fishing, logging and mining. They exploit gaps in governance and launder the profits of their illicit trades on international financial markets.

Green corruption


Taking a “follow the money” approach is therefore crucial to disrupt environmental degradation which results from the illegal exploitation of natural resources. This is now widely recognised by governments, international organisations including the Financial Action Task Force and increasingly the private sector.

Removing opportunities for corruption, tracing illicit financial flows and confiscating the proceeds of crime will help to dismantle the criminal organisations that are exploiting the planet for personal gain.

Our approach – fight corruption to protect the environment

The Basel Institute has almost two decades of experience in fighting corruption, tracing and recovering stolen assets, and strengthening governance. As an independent organisation that works hand-in-hand with governments, international organisations, civil society and private sector partners around the world, we are well positioned to take action and join a broad coalition of support to tackle the financial crimes that drive environmental degradation.

Since 2018, we have successfully applied this approach to financial crime in the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and are now expanding the scope of the Green Corruption programme to other areas of environmental crime.

In the area of IWT, we work with key financial institutions and law enforcement partners to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of transnational IWT-related financial crimes, produce and facilitate the sharing of actionable intelligence on criminal networks, and assist regional and international cooperation.

To ensure that private sector and law enforcement action is well targeted, we undertake field research into the drivers and facilitators of wildlife trafficking in East Africa and the operations and interactions of criminal networks within formal and informal economies.

This analytical and intelligence driven law enforcement action is closely linked to our membership, as proud signatories of the Buckingham Palace Declaration and Mansion House Declaration, of the United for Wildlife (UfW) Transport Taskforce and Financial Taskforce. In this context, we notably operate the UfW Information Sharing System which produces actionable intelligence on wildlife trafficking and facilitates public-private cooperation.

The Green Corruption programme is explicitly designed in a flexible manner to allow the ongoing review of technical engagement opportunities in this emerging inter-disciplinary field.

Juhani Grossmann

Team Leader, Green Corruption Programme
+41 61 205 55 30

Our donors

The Royal Foundation is the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Basel Institute supports the intelligence function of the United for Wildlife Transport and Financial Taskforces, an initiative of The Royal Foundation.


The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), established in May 2013, is a joint initiative of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, initiated to address the ivory crisis by providing emergency funding to partners working in the areas of anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand deduction. The ECF has the speed and efficiency to react quickly to threats to vulnerable populations of African elephants, aiming for rapid impact and also for collaboration between organisations.


PMI IMPACT is a global initiative to support public, private, and nongovernmental organisations to develop and implement projects against illegal trade and related crimes. The initiative was launched in 2016 by Philip Morris International (PMI), which has pledged USD 100 million to fund the first three rounds of grants.

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