Table of Contents

Handbook of Transnational Environmental Crime

Handbook of Transnational Environmental Crime

Edited by Lorraine Elliott and William H. Schaedla

Crimes associated with the illegal trade in wildlife, timber and fish stocks, pollutants and waste have become increasingly transnational, organized and serious. They warrant attention because of their environmental consequences, their human toll, their impacts on the rule of law and good governance, and their links with violence, corruption and a range of crossover crimes. This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to examine key sectors in transnational environmental crime and to explore its most significant conceptual, operational and enforcement challenges.

Chapter 1: Transnational environmental crime: excavating the complexities – an introduction

Lorraine Elliott and William H. Schaedla

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, international relations


The term ‘transnational environmental crime’ (TEC) seems to have entered the academic lexicon in different contexts in Michalowski and Bitten (2005) and Elliott (2007a). It has since gained currency as a specific ‘term of art’ within criminology (White 2011), governance and regulation (Bisschop 2015), international political economy (Elliott 2014), international law, and even in security studies (Elliott 2007b). The phrase has also come to be used in the sphere of global public policy, often as a development of earlier and more limited concepts such as international environmental crime (see, for example, Gosling 2014; Stoett 2015). As many of the chapters in this volume indicate, there is no universally accepted definition of transnational environmental crime in international law as there is, for example, of transnational organized crime. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime has a rather tortuous definition of what makes criminal activity transnational. A crime is transnational if it is committed in more than one state; is committed in one state but a substantial part of its preparation, planning, direction or control takes place in another state; or is committed in one state but has substantial effects in another state (Article 3). Andre Bossard, former Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), has a much simpler definition: the activity must be recognized as a criminal offence in at least two countries as a result of international or national law and a border must be crossed (cited in Friman and Andreas 1999, p. 5). In the case of transnational environmental crime, this border-crossing can involve the perpetrators, the products and/or the illegal profits.