HK Express became the first airline in Hong Kong to ban ivory cargo, a new policy announced marking World Elephant Day. The decision to take an ethical stance on the issue follows the Hong Kong government’s recently proposed legislation to ban all local ivory trade by 2021.
HK Express’ ivory cargo ban reinforces the airline’s corporate social responsibility and continued commitment to the environment and its wildlife.
Last year, HK Express was the first Hong Kong’s based airline to ban shark fin cargo. In collaboration with the Hong Kong Shark Foundation (HKSF), HK Express raised awareness for the plight of sharks by naming its first A320neo aircraft “Shark — Say No to Shark Fin,” and supporting the HKSF’s campaign to ban the cruel practice entirely.
The ivory ban takes the airline’s conservation pursuits one step further, in an effort to protect vulnerable elephant populations around the world. More than 20,000 elephants are killed due to ivory poaching each year, which accounts for 60% of all elephant deaths annually.
Despite an international ban on ivory trade since the 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, illegal poaching continues — and, in Hong Kong, sales of ivory acquired before the ban remain legal. Hong Kong ranks the 5th in the world for ivory smuggling and sales. Just last month, Hong Kong Customs officials seized 7.2 tonnes of smuggled tusks, in what was one of the largest ivory busts in the past three decades2.
“HK Express is committed to the environment and will continue to act in accordance with our values,” says Andrew Cowen, director and CEO of HK Express. “We were the first airline in Hong Kong to ban shark fin cargo in 2016 and we are proud to be the first again to ban ivory cargo this year. It is our corporate social responsibility to do everything we can to address these urgent environmental crises and cruel practices.”
“To show our continuing support for the protection of elephants, we will also be rolling out a series of activities in the coming months, including an aircraft naming to commemorate the introduction of our ivory-free cargo flight policy.”