Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

Green criminology applies a broad “green” perspective to environmental harms, ecological justice, and the study of environmental laws and criminality, which includes crimes affecting the environment and non-human nature. Discussions on Green criminology often center on pollution, animal cruelty, deforestation, crimes that are committed directly against the environment or acts that cause harm to the environment (M J Lynch (1990)), but there have not been a lot of discussions centering on the prevention of green crimes and the tools to curtail the same. This article intends to outline the macro initiatives and ways to prevent green crimes at a preliminary phase.

• Identify risk in supply chains and to promote sustainable investment decisions

With a view to reduce and deter green crime, it is important to identify risks associated with green crime in supply chains. The private sector can also play an invaluable role in actively promoting sustainable development. To achieve this, each individual organization must strive to make long-term decisions that drive positive change. On an organizational level, every individual compliance team has a part to play in identifying and exposing financial crime. Best practice convinces us that financial crime screening and related due diligence remain our best defense against corruption, but these essential operational tools also have an important social element that warrants consideration. Moreover, organizations could also strive to implement macro initiatives to curtail illegal activity pertaining to environmental crime, including UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Those goals outlined by the UN function as a guideline or blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” and seek to identify global challenges including those related to poverty, inequality, climate and environmental, oceanic, degradation.

• ESG Due Diligence

In view of the above, ESG due diligence plays an important role forming investment decisions. If an ESG due diligence is not made before the transaction, there is also a risk that criminal acts continue in the new organization as they had previously, i.e. if, for example, no corruption risk has been identified in the target before the transaction and the company does not have adequate procedures to deal with such risk, there is a possibility of also being in breach of corruption legislation after the company has been taken over.

Using the right tools can help organizations to make better investment decisions and build sustainability into their investment and business strategies. Investment decisions could be assessed on the organization’s performance in critical areas such as climate change, diversity, business ethics and corporate governance. Collectively, those are effective ways inpreventing and deterring green crimes at the initial stage.

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