How would these companies make money?
First, they would be able to sell solutions to law-enforcement bodies, such as customs agencies and the police, and to companies in the supply chain. Most luxury-goods companies are in favor of an efficient, cost-effective permitting system. However, while they will use such a system if it is available and demanded by customers, they will not invest in it themselves. Crowd-sourcing systems that allow consumers to demand and verify supply information could be very effective in creating a new market for such information.
Second, permits are not free even today. In fact, one of the system’s problems is that many in the supply chain choose to “save” the money for a permit, because cheating is easy. An iron-clad, real-time e-permitting system would provide a scalable, recurrent revenue stream for technology providers and system operators. It would also put pressure on those using the black market to come out of the shadows.
The approach we envision is paradigmatic of innovative development finance. It combines the best of what the private sector has to offer, including capital, technology, innovation and efficiency, with the best of what the public sector has to offer, such as legislation and regulation for safeguarding global public goods. If the parties to CITES embrace the technological capabilities that are available to them, local communities and our planet’s wildlife will be the biggest winners.
Philippe Douste-Blazy, a former French foreign minister, is special adviser to the UN secretary-general on innovative financing for development. Robert Filipp is president of the Innovative Finance Foundation. The authors thank John Scanlon for his invaluable contribution to this article.
Copyright: Project Syndicate