By Mei Jia
To raise awareness of the need to protect the environment and wildlife, 29 Chinese business leaders joined seven scholars to launch an Ivory Pledge on Thursday in Beijing.
“We'll never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift,” they pledged, and said they would ask for the same promise from people they come in contact with.
According to WildAid, an international organization that focuses on reducing the demand for wildlife products, each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory. The population of elephants has declined 62 percent in the last 10 years.
The species that has survived for millions of years on earth is in danger of not surviving human exploitation.
WildAid China Chair Huang Nubo, chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group, spearheaded the effort with key business people including Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp; Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Lenovo Group; and 10 other individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List.
“We entrepreneurs should grow with China's growth and take on more social responsibility,” Huang said. “We'll pass on the ideal of wildlife protection to our children.”
“The business elite in China, and the public, when aware of the problem, are very supportive of conservation,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights.
Zi Wen, chief representative of WildAid in China, said the organization has done a survey that showed 94 percent of respondents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are against the trade in ivory and ivory product.
“We hope the pledge will let the world know that Chinese people do care about natural resources worldwide, and do care about the wild animals on the planet,” Zi said.
The Chinese government crushed more than six metric tons of poached ivory in January, showing its determination to battle illegal ivory trafficking.