New paper examining the risks and opportunities for sustainability of the Belt and Road Initiative’s Traditional Chinese Medicine trade

January 17, 2020

A new paper focusing on the conservation implications of the global expansion of Traditional Chinese medicine has just been published, led by the WildCRU’s Senior Research fellow in Conservation Geopolitics, Dr Amy Hinsley. The paper was written as part of a cross-sector collaboration, with experts in wildlife trade and sustainability from Oxford, Sun Yat Sen University, Australian National University, TRAFFIC, and the Academy of Forest Inventory and Planning, National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China.

The paper looks in detail at the little-known ‘people-to-people exchange’ pillar of China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which will involve the promotion of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in BRI countries. The BRI will also provide the opportunity for TCM companies to expand the sourcing of TCM ingredients based on animals, plants and fungi to new areas. In the context of these rapidly developing markets and supply-chains, the authors explore the potential risks that this presents to species that are harvested for TCM but also the opportunities that it could present to support sustainable wildlife trade. They outline a four step process by which sustainability can be built into these markets from the start.

Click here for more information. The paper can be accessed in English here and Chinese here.

  • TCM shop selling orchid tubers
  • Market selling raw TCM products