Ivory sold openly in Saudi Mövenpick hotel

This video is called Where have all the Elephants gone? – Africa.

Another video, which used to be on YouTube, was called Elephant poaching – Ivory being sold openly inside Movenpick hotel building.

Note: in the video title, and in the Wildlife Extra article quoted in this blog post, the hotel corporation’s name is not spelled consistently. It is Mövenpick, a daughter corporation of the Nestlé corporation.

From Wildlife Extra:

Ivory being sold openly inside Moevenpick hotel

Ivory being sold openly in Saudi hotel

November 2013. With wild elephants being driven towards extinction by the scourge of poaching, Möevenpick Hotels are feeding, and possibly creating, the demand for ivory by renting shops inside their hotels to ivory traders, and thus profiting from the ivory trade.

Promotion for this shop involves leaving booklets in each hotel room promoting the shop.

Our reader took a video of this shop inside the Möevenpick Hotel in Madinah in Saudi Arabia in October 2013 (see above).

By promoting ivory sales and creating demand for ivory products, Möevenpick hotels are encouraging the poaching of elephants. By displaying ivory openly for sale in their hotels, they are marketing ivory to people who may not have previously thought of buying any.

This has a terrible human cost, as well as threatening the existence of elephants. As many as 13,000 people have lost their lives protecting wildlife in the last eight years around the world, and it is estimated that up to 50,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year. 6 tonnes of ivory have been seized by authorities in East Africa in the last few weeks, and seizures only represent a small percentage of the ivory that is exported every year.

Sustainability policy or lip service?

Möevenpick Hotels own sustainability policy states “For Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts sustainability is about meeting current needs while at the same time preserving and contributing to the future for generations to come.

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is convinced that the combination of its values and global approach to sustainability will help the company to be recognized as one of the world’s most trusted hotel management companies.”

Like many large organisations, it appears that Moevenpick pay lip service to ‘sustainability’ whilst the reality is that if someone wants to pay them some rent for a shop, then the need for cash overcomes “preserving and contributing to the future for generations to come.”

If elephants are to survive [then] demand for ivory needs to be stopped.

November 2013: Despite unprecedented levels of illegal ivory trade globally, there are positive signs that ivory markets in Cambodia and Singapore may be showing signs of decline, according to a piece in TRAFFIC Bulletin, the only journal devoted exclusively to wildlife trade issues: here.

Striking Nestlé Worker Shot Dead in Colombia: here.

Nestlé trying to patent the fennel flower: here.

28 thoughts on “Ivory sold openly in Saudi Mövenpick hotel

  1. Pingback: Ivory sold openly in Saudi Mövenpick Hotel | www.HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

  2. Statement from Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts regarding an article about the sales of ivory in our hotels.

    Wild Travel Magazine, specifically its online outlet wildlifeextra.com, has published an article asserting that the Anwar Al Madinah Mövenpick Hotel is selling ivory on its premises.

    This accusation is incorrect. In fact, the video shown has been filmed in an independent shopping mall which is partly merging into the hotel building, partly separate. The mall and all shops are not managed by us, nor are we responsible for or involved in the lease of any shops.

    The management of the hotel is not in any way related to this incident. However, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts takes this very seriously, since sustainable practices are at the heart of our business. Our hotel management have taken immediate initiative and spoken to the shopping mall management. The management has promised to investigate further and will approach the shop owners. We will continue to monitor the situation and express our concerns with all involved to push for an appropriate resolution.

    Zurich, 1st November 2013


    • So, here is a reaction by the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts corporation.

      They claim the dead elephants’ teeth selling shop is “partly merging into the hotel building, partly separate.” So, a pretty complex construction making it not really transparent who exactly is responsible.

      However, it seems that the negative publicity on this blog and elsewhere is beginning to work. Now, one should hope for not only words in official statements, but for action as well.


      • The situation looks like this. As the video and the Wildlife Extra article say:

        1. There is an ivory shop in Madinah.

        2. it is in the Mövenpick hotel complex of buildings.

        Mövenpick does not deny this.

        Then, the maker of the video and Wildlife Extra site claim that

        “Promotion for this shop involves leaving booklets in each hotel room promoting the shop.”

        The Mövenpick statement does not deny that.

        What they DO deny is that they own the shop space; based on that one point, they call the whole Wildlife Extra article “false”.

        If something would be 100% false, then one might expect Mövenpick to do nothing about it. Yet, they write in their statement that they have done now something, contacting the mall management, which they had not done before, all the time when this shop existed (and, according to the maker of the video, the hotel management should have known about it from booklets promoting that shop in all hotel rooms). So, the Wildlife Extra article DID set something into motion which would not have happened otherwise.

        You have what Wildlife Extra says. You have what Mövenpick says. To know the truth here about who is wrong and who is right one would probably have to be able to read property documents in Saudi Arab legalese.


        • Dear Petrel41,
          We wished you would not interprete facts in a way most favourable to you. We made it clear that we do not own this building (hotel, mall etc.), we have not even leased the building. You are certainly correct when suggesting that it is not clear what kind of building this is. We understand that most think it is “our” mall, our hotel etc. If you will check now, you’ll see that Wild Travel Magazine has withdrawn their article completely since included a couple of incorrect facts and it could not longer withstant. It is like someone accuses you for the misbehaviour of your neighbour you rarely see.
          We are not in agreement with your accusatory tone when saying “If something would be 100% false, then one might expect Mövenpick to do nothing about it”. We made our point and we will not repeat facts again. Instead, you might reconsider your statement: Because we do feel committed to sustainability, and we have already talked to various players to have ivory removed in the shop and hopefully never sold again. Will we be successful? Time will tell, but will not stop working on this.
          So indeed, those blog posts did achieve something, having us now on board. But if this is really dear to you you should reach out to those in the power seat – trading ivory is not prohibited in Saudia Arabia.
          Should we be successful with our endeavours we will update all through our Facebook page. This will be our last post in this case on this blog.


          • So, indeed, as Mövenpick public relations says, most people, including the person who made the video, would think that is their mall. And indeed, the publicity has achieved at least something; which, one should hope, will mean the end of ivory sales in that shop. One issue which Mövenpick does not mention is the publicity booklets for that ivory shop, found, according to the video maker, in all their hotel rooms.


  3. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Rhubblog Administrator! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Interestingly,I received a tweet from Movenpick hotel,stating they ‘don’t sell Ivory on their hotels’ I think they are telling fibs. But it’s great to see your article is making a jolly good impact for animals 🙂 Thank-you


    • Yes, I think that the article in Wildlife Extra and the blog post are having an impact.

      One thing which Mövenpick writes now is correct: the original article is no longer on the Wildlife Extra site. Why did they remove it?

      One might think of two possibilities (only speculation):

      A) Wildlife Extra thinks “We made a honest mistake, due to the complexity of the building in Saudi Arabia, so we remove the article”. However: as far as I know their only mistake *may* have been about the property of the ivory shop. The issue of the ivory shop PR booklets in all hotel rooms then still stands. Why, then, remove the whole article; instead of adding an update footnote?

      B) Wildlife Extra thinks “If there would be a court case, then multinational corporation Nestlé would have lots of expensive lawyers, and a small organisation like us would have just one lawyer who is busy with other business as well. So, even though the article is not (in all respects) wrong, we remove it”.


      • i tend to think they would obviously deny the truth about the article. Since it’s not good for their business. Though You are probably right. Your article is causing quite a stir! 🙂


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