Apr 13 2014, 11:56am CDT | by Forbes
Billionaire Guo Guangchang, chairman of Chinese investment firm Fosun International, and three other individuals will be feted in New York this Thursday, April 17, for their efforts to stop the killing of sharks for their fins, which are a delicacy served in soup in Asia.
Guo, along with Ding Liguo, the CEO of steelmaker Delong Holdings, Wan Jie, chairman of art publishing firm Artron, and Jim Zhang of the Nature Conservancy will be named “Global Shark Guardians” at an event organized by Wildaid, the Nature Conservancy and the Pew Charitable Trust, according to a Pew press release.
The four have a record of working in support of a ban on the serving of shark fin at Chinese government banquets.
In March 2011, Ding, at the time a member of China’s National People’s Congress, submitted a proposal for a legislative ban on the shark fin trade and Wan, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made a similar proposal. The two failed due to concerns that a trade ban could be challenged at the World Trade Organization, according to material provided by Pew.
A year later in March 2012, Ding and Guo, who had become a member of the National People’s Congress, submitted a revised proposal with the support of more than 30 other NPC delegates for a legislative ban on the consumption of shark fin at official banquets. In the CPPCC, Wan also proposed a ban.
In July 2012, it was announced that the Council would issue guidelines instructing government agencies to stop serving shark fin at official receptions within one to three years. Yet by December, the regulations came into effect, and the measure was promoted as an anti-corruption initiative.
WildAid estimates that demand for shark fin has dropped 50-70% since the National People’s Congress took up the issue. Some 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, according to Pew.
Three of the four individuals to be recognized this week – Guo, Ding and Zhang – also belong to the China Entrepreneur Club, an association of prominent Chinese businessmen which announced in 2009 that members would no longer consume shark fin soup.
Among business that have supported the initiative to curb demand for shark fin, Starwood Hotels recently announced that it would stop serving shark fin soup at its hotels worldwide, including 200 in China.
Basketball star Yao Ming has also worked to call public attention to the killing of sharks for their fins and has been closely associated with WildAid.
Fosun International is a licensing partner of Forbes Media in China.
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