TNRC Knowledge Hub - Conservation Challenge: Sustainable supply chains

Preventing Corruption from Undermining Legal Supply Chains

To prevent corruption from undermining the integrity and sustainability of legal supply chains, strengthen traceability systems and advance transparent access to information on concessions and corporate ownership.

Does your work focus on enhancing the sustainability of legal supply chains for wildlife, timber and fish? Are you concerned that corruption is driving negative outcomes? This page outlines three steps to start building anti-corruption approaches into your conservation programming.

The Challenge

  • Consumers want legal, sustainable natural resource products. But corruption can occur at many points along natural resource supply chains, undermining confidence in the legality and sustainability of products.
  • Traceability systems can potentially address some, though not all, corruption risks.
  • To reduce opportunities for corruption that undermine the integrity of supply chains, strengthen transparent access to information on concessions and corporate ownership.

Three Steps to Follow

infographic of three steps

Step 1: Understand Corruption Get familiar with how corruption impacts conservation and ways to respond

Whether you have decades of experience or are new to the field, you may not know exactly where corruption risks lie, how they might be influencing your conservation outcomes, and what can be done about them. Start by taking the 90-minute eCourse below.

Step 2: Assess Your Situation Identify how corruption affects the objectives of your own programming

Best results will come from layering interventions at multiple risk points. The first step is to think about who has power in your implementing context. You can then start to identify drivers and facilitators of corruption and entry points for—as well as limitations on—change. The resources below will help you to ask the right questions and identify those risk points.

La Chorrera indigenous community and WWF-Colombia

Situation Analysis

Learn more about assessing the threats that corruption may pose to conservation objectives and identify responses that are appropriate to your specific context.

Step 3: Adapt Your Programming Consider approaches that fit your needs

Consider whether some of the programming avenues below would help to address your challenges. Take a moment to read these principles for getting started from recent experience testing anti-corruption approaches in various contexts.

Remember: Evidence suggests that targeting corruption through multiple approaches yields best results.

  • Landscape showing commercial fishing boats
    Is corruption systemic and you’re unsure where to target supply chain-oriented interventions?

    Support traceability in forests, marine and wildlife supply chains

    Explore the Supply Chains Guide
  • Landscape photo of a bank of fish
    Are concessions, licensing, and permitting systems insufficiently transparent, thus enabling corruption?

    Foster transparent access to information on concessions, ownership, and other open governance approaches

    Explore the Open Governance Guide
  • Worker gathering wood
    Are permissive social norms facilitating corruption along supply chains or undermining certification systems, chain of custody, and traceability?

    Integrate behavioral change approaches

    Explore the Social Norms & Behavior Change Guide

Illustration commercial boa fishing© Kevenodes / Vecteezy

Case Study: Reducing opportunities for corruption to improve fisheries sustainability

Media reports in Argentina and private conversations with stakeholders suggest high probability of corruption related to bycatch and discards in fisheries. Vida Silvestre Argentina delivered a pilot to address corruption that undermines effective fisheries governance. The team took a politically-informed approach to address this corruption risk. An electronic fisheries information system (e-logbook) was rolled out for reporting fishing information at the capture stage. In parallel, the team also conducted an advocacy campaign, which is ongoing, to encourage the passage of a national traceability law. Delivery of this pilot involved interviewing captains and ship owners, testing and rolling out the e-logbook, developing advocacy materials, meeting with key decision makers, participating in Congressional debates, expanding the system of actors with which leaders engage, strategic media releases, and coordination of events advocating for the adoption of a national traceability regulation (TNRC Pilot 2021-2023).

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Image attribution: © / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus