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China’s Top Business Leaders Say No to Ivory

BEIJING – Business leaders in China took a public stand today against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo, spearheaded the effort by 36 prominent Chinese to raise awareness of the ivory poaching crisis. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group.

"As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said Nubo. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet's wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations."   

Recent surveys indicate a large portion of China’s population is unaware of the death toll to create ivory and rhino horn products, yet a greater number of residents support government enforced bans. (Read the ivory and rhino horn surveys.)

“The business elite in China, and the public, when aware of the problem, are very supportive of conservation,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights. “We are hopeful that the new administration under President Xi will act decisively to stop ivory trafficking and bring some relief to beleaguered African nations.”

The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.

With support from Chinese state media WildAid campaigns with celebrity ambassadors to reduce the demand of endangered wildlife products including shark fin, ivory, and rhino horn. Its shark fin campaign contributed to a reported 50% decline in the shark fin trade. In April 2013 the African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Elephants, WildAid, and the Yao Ming Foundation launched ivory and rhino horn campaigns in China.

The Ivory Pledge and its signatories are copied below:

Ivory Pledge

In recent years, poaching as a result of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants. I'm aware of the following:

1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory

2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years

3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations

4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade

5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade

6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China's international reputation. 

Because of this, I pledge the following:

1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift

2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products

Signatories

Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina Corp

Deng Feng – CEO and Chairman, Beiji Guangfeng Investment Fund

Ding Liguo – Founder, Liguo Corp.

Feng Lun – Chairman, Vantone Holdings

Huang Nubo – Chairman, Zhongkun Group

Jiang Xipei – Chairman, Yuandong Holdings

Li Dongsheng – Chairman, TCL Group

Li Shufu – Chairman, Geely Group

Li Zhenfu – China Regional President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Liu Chuanzhi – Chairman, Lenovo

Liu Donghua – Founder, Zhenghedao Group

Liu Jiren – Chairman, Dongruan Group

Liu Jun – Deputy Chairman, Guangxi People’s Congress Committee

Ma Yun (Jack Ma) – Founder, Alibaba Group

Niu Gensheng – Founder, Lao Niu Foundation

Shen Guojun – CEO and Chairman, Yintai Holdings Corp.

Tang Yue – Founding Partner, Blue Mountain China Capital

Wang Chaoyong – Founder and President, Xinzhongli International Holdings

Wang Junhao – Deputy Chairman, Junyao Group

Wang Lifen – Founder, Beijing Youshimi Internet Technology Co. Ltd.

Wang Wenjing – CEO and Chairman, Yongyou Software Corp.

Wang Zhongjun – Chairman, Huaiyi Brothers Media Corp.

Wu Jianmin – Deputy Director, China External Affairs Committee

Wu Yajun – Chairman, Longhu Group

Xia Hua – Chairman, Yiwen Enterprise Group

Xie Mian – Art and culture critic

Xu Shaochun – Founder, Jindie Software Group

Xu Zhihong – Scholar, China Academy of Science

Yang Shaopeng – Chairman, Haifeng International Shipping Corp.

Yu Minhong – Founder, New Oriental Group

Yuan Yue – Chaiman, Lingdian Consulting

 Zhang Weiying – Renowned Economist

Zhang Xingsheng ( Jim Zhang) – Managing Directory, The Nature Conservancy Greater China Region

Zhou Qiren – Dean, Peking University National Development Academy

Zhou Qifeng – Renowned Chemist

Zhu Xinli – Chairman, Beijing Huiyuan Beverage Company