Friday, September 18, 2009 - remember?

Well, what looked like an uphill battle in the beginning of our fight against one of the world's largest online traders / brokers - the Chinese Alibaba Group - has now turned into a major achievement as it is not only about shark fins which was our casus belli but also ivory and sea turtles.

here to read what was published a few days ago.


We discovered Alibaba's involvement in the extremely lucrative international shark fin trade late in 2006, and then initiated, together with the active and committed support of Richard Stewart of the Ocean Realm Society and Marie Levine of the Shark Research Institute, a massive campaign to induce Alibaba to stop facilitating the highly controversial, often illegal shark fin trade.

Later, countless other individuals, including David McGuire and Patric Douglas, to name just two, and conservationist organizations from all over the world such as The Sea Shepherd (USA), Jupp von Kerckerinck's Shark Protect (Germany), Shark Project (Germany / Austria), Benthic (Canada), Shark Savers (USA/South Africa) joined forces.

I remember writing the PR people of Alibaba a note that included something along these lines: "What has started as a light breeze of indignation and protest against your business practice will soon grow into a full blown hurricane of bad press for you."

Although we sometimes felt frustrated, even discouraged, to carry on our fight against Alibaba and its major shareholder, Yahoo!, we never really gave up - and let the Alibaba executives know that we wouldn't.

Indeed, we did not mince words and kept reminding them of our intent.

Dr. Brian Darvell, a professor at the Hong Kong University, and a passionate and very articulate shark conservationist, managed to get Alibaba CEO Jack Ma's attention at a public meeting, and later established a personal contact with a key Alibaba manager.

The conversations Brian had with this gentleman were decisive and eventually led to the last chapter of what seemed to be a never ending story - Alibaba's decision to ban the trading of shark fins through their internet portal (January 2009). seem to have become an environment oriented enterprise - very much to their credit.

The moral of the tale is straight and simple: If you are like most individuals are, that is: basically quite insignificant, replaceable, and powerless, but still want to change the world, do not hesitate - go for it. However, don't think big; think small, be patient, be perseverant, and, most importantly, don't give up.

1 comment:

WhySharksMatter said...

It's so rare to hear good news... thanks for sharing!