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FairWild News

Issue 6, December 2015
The FairWild Foundation promotes the sustainable use of wild-collected ingredients, with a fair deal for all those involved throughout the supply chain.

Visit our website for the list of FairWild operators and ingredients, and read on for the latest news.

With season's greetings and best wishes for 2016!

FairWild Standard and Certification Scheme

Since our last newsletter, FairWild Foundation has been busy working on different aspects of the Standard and certification scheme development, as well as taking time to learn from the experience and perspectives of those involved with sustainable sourcing first hand.

In October 2015, FairWild engaged with UK-based stakeholders of the FairWild certification scheme, at a meeting hosted by Neal’s Yard Remedies, and co-organised by FairWild Foundation and TRAFFIC. The meeting sparked lively discussion around four main topics: FairWild business development; ensuring sustainable supply; plans for improvements to the certification scheme operations; and communications, public awareness and branding.

FairWild Foundation also undertook a consultation on proposed changes to the license fee system applicable to registered Licensees, i.e. manufacturing companies responsible for the labelling and marketing of the final packaged products containing FairWild-certified ingredients. The new structure will be finalised in early 2016 based on the feedback received.
Participants of the 2015 FairWild UK stakeholders meeting © Anastasiya Timoshyna / TRAFFIC
Positive developments continue to be seen with certified supply of some key ingredients, such as liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza spp.). The market demand for FairWild® certified liquorice has been increasing and exceeding available supply, until now. In October, a joint site-visit was made, by FairWild distributor Martin Bauer and FairWild licensee Traditional Medicinals, to Georgia to observe harvesting and post-harvest processing of wild liquorice at a newly certified operation. The supply of FairWild liquorice is now far more stable with two certified operations in the Martin Bauer network (in Georgia and Kazakhstan) and a third liquorice operation in the Organic Herb Trading Co. network (in Spain). Other wild collected medicinal plants are also possible for FairWild certification in the future from these liquorice operations.
In order to promote the uptake of the FairWild Standard by industry, FairWild Foundation collaborates with a wide range of organisations active on the topic of sustainable use and trade in wild plants. In recent months, WWF Germany has also been engaging with potential company partners through their work to change industry sourcing practices. The FairWild Standard has now become considered amongst other key standards to be promoted before any agreement on objectives is discussed with a company that is sourcing from the wild. 

In 2016, FairWild will continue to work with WWF, TRAFFIC and other partners to stimulate the industry dialogue on sustainable sourcing, and share experience in the implementation of the FairWild principles. Do come and join us for an interactive workshop during the BioFach organic trade fair in February!

Meanwhile, innovative collaborations are also helping to bring FairWild and the fascinating world of wild plants to public attention. You can follow artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey on their search of the charismatic Samburu tribal women and their harvesting of FairWild-certified Frankincense resin from the Boswellia neglecta trees in the remote northern regions of Kenya. The Sustainable Herbs documentary project has also been getting underway, gathering stories from the many different actors involved as wild plant ingredients travel through the supply chain.

The year has also seen a big change for the FairWild Secretariat, having moved along with partner TRAFFIC to a new office location in the David Attenborough Building on the Cambridge Conservation Campus.  This building has been purpose refurbished to provide a vibrant hub for the partners in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge and the Museum of Zoology. It will house over 500 academics, practitioners and students from Cambridge University and its CCI partner organisations.

FairWild Worldwide

China: Since the project ‘Engaging China’s private sector in sustainable management of medicinal plants – the multiplier effect’, (EGP MAPs) has formally closed, the implementing project team have been spending time to consolidate the outcomes of the project and ensure dissemination. The final project report and policy recommendations, available from TRAFFIC, was shared at a closing event for the EC-China Environmental Governance Programme, the umbrella initiative under which the project to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the traditional Chinese Medicine industry was implemented. As outputs become available, they will be published on the project website.

New opportunities are now being sought to continue building the momentum for sustainable sourcing in this most important source region and market for wild collected ingredients. Companies interested in sourcing FairWild-certified ingredients from China should contact the FairWild Secretariat for details.
Pakistan: Spread across the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, Northern Pakistan is rich in natural resources. Although protected areas and conservancies cover almost 25 percent of the mountain areas, threats to the region's unique biodiversity remain due to poverty and limited options for sustainable livelihoods. The UNDP-GEF Mountains and Markets project aims to improve the situation by providing sustainable solutions for local communities to make use of the rich biodiversity.

In November 2015, trainers from ProFound - Advisers in Development visited Northern Pakistan for a collaborative mission of the Dutch government agency CBI, promoting imports from developing countries, and the Mountains and Markets project. The team visited cultivation and wild collection areas as well as local processors and companies in Skardu, Astore and Gilgit area with the aim to promote good collection and processing practices as well as sustainable sourcing from these mountain areas. Many of the visited companies are part of the CBI Export Coaching Programme on natural ingredients in Pakistan, and in 2016 will be supported to participate in trade fairs such as BioFach.

Invited by the Mountains and Markets project, ProFound also provided two trainings on the benefits of harmonisation of sustainability standards, such as organic and FairWild. Participants included local communities, organised in Community Biodiversity Enterprises (CBEs), local support organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a result of the mission, a pilot will be explored in 2016 on certification of Chilgoza pine nuts, trialling a new methodology for certification against several standards at once.
Viet Nam: The project "Enhancing management and benefit flows in Vietnam’s wild medicinal products" was formally launched in October 2015, with a workshop involving different project stakeholders. The project launched in Bac Kan province aims to improve the livelihoods of at least 1,000 low-income households, according to principles of the FairWild Standard. The formal project launch was followed by a sustainable sourcing workshop with companies in Hanoi, where experience with standards and certification schemes, including FairWild, was shared.

The project has got off to a flying start, with activities to carry out the baseline household survey  underway. The project team have also introduced the “ABCD” approach to working with communities - an innovative development strategy focusing on identifying and mobilizing existing community assets, in their local project sites. This strategy will allow community members to create and take advantage of new economic opportunities, such as that presented by sustainable trade in wild-sourced Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), without depending on outside organizations. 

Asset-Based Community Development training underway in Viet Nam © TRAFFIC

Kosovo: Wild collection companies supported under the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) programme, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), explored the potential markets for sustainably produced non-wood forest products (NWFP), through participation in trade fairs such as Food Ingredients Europe 2015, held in Paris in December 2015. Supported by ProFound, the companies accessed business leads to support sustainable growth of the sub-sector, and also convened meetings with FairWild Foundation to discuss the Standard and certification process.

Policy News

The past few months have seen some important events take place in the global efforts to coordinate action on sustainable use of forest resources, including non-timber forest products. 

On 9th September a side event on “Tools for sustainable and legal trade in timber and non-wood forest products” was held by WWF and TRAFFIC at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa. Experiences with the implementation of the FairWild Standard were shared in a room packed with interested participants that showed particular interest in applying the Standard in Southern and Central Africa. 

The 3rd IUCN Species Survival Commission Leaders Meeting took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 15-18 September, attended by over 300 expert chairs of the IUCN SSC Specialist Groups, as well as IUCN supporters. FairWild Board member Dr. Danna Leaman and TRAFFIC’s Medicinal Plants Programme Leader Anastasiya Timoshyna attended as Co-Chairs of the IUCN/SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, a partner of FairWild Foundation. The event provided an important opportunity to discuss critical conservation actions, including conservation status assessments of priority medicinal plants, as well as the implementation of sustainable use measures. 

In mid-November, the 51st Council Session of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) was held, to which FairWild Foundation representative and Board member Ximena Buitrón was admitted as an observer and member of the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG). In its official Statement to the 51st Session of ITTO, CSAG encouraged the Council to pay attention to non-timber forest products, and promoted the FairWild Standard as a tool for sustainable management of wild-harvested plants. 

In December, TRAFFIC participated in a meeting for the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan (GABAR): A new Green Growth Initiative, organized by International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and the Kew Gardens. The applicability of the FairWild Standard to the harvesting of rattan - most of which is wild-collected - was discussed among other issues. 

Looking ahead, 2016 promises to be an important year for policy developments on the topic of wild plant conservation. The IUCN World Conservation Congress, to be held in Hawai'i in September 2016, is an an important event for shaping the conservation agenda globally. The year will also bring Conferences of the Parties to two multi-lateral environmental agreements - CoP17 of CITES to be held in Johanesburg, South Africa, in September 2016, and CoP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2016.

We hope to see the events bring progress on the international cooperation for sustainable use of wild plants in 2016!  Happy holidays from all at FairWild Foundation.

Participants of the UK stakeholder meeting at Neal's Yard Remedies' ecofactory © FairWild Foundation

Upcoming Events

BioFach 2016: 
Join us at the world's largest organic trade fair. Contact us to arrange an appointment!

Please do plan to attend the FairWild event 15:00 - 17:00 on Wed 10th February. Please check the event schedule for final details.

Auditor training and experience exchange: Izmir, Turkey. The event has been postponed and will be rescheduled later in 2016. Please contact for details.
The FairWild Foundation Secretariat, hosted by TRAFFIC, has relocated to the David Attenborough Building © Cambridge Conservation Initiative

FairWild's Supporters

Our work is carried out with a small budget and supported by dedicated staff, partner organisations and volunteers. FairWild’s Secretariat is hosted by TRAFFIC International.

We would like to thank Traditional Medicinals Inc. for a donation received in October 2015, and our other donors for their contributions made throughout the year. 

Donations are always welcome: please contact the FairWild Secretariat for details of how to contribute.
Harvesting liquorice root in Georgia © Martin Bauer Group

FairWild in the Classroom

FairWild has recently featured in courses delivered to both practitioners and students of herbal science.

Earlier in 2015, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), had asked FairWild board member Josef Brinckmann to develop a Continued Education course on “State of the Sustainability Movement in the Traditional Herbal Medicine Industry.”
On 29 October, Brinckmann delivered the new course to ACTCM alumni in San Francisco, California covering material on the use of sustainability standards. Participants were made aware of the FairWild Standard, the USDA Organic Wild-crop Harvesting Practice Standard, and their relevance to sustainable traditional herbal medicines.

In December, Brinckmann also delivered a guest lecture on the topic of sustainable botanical sourcing for herbal sciences undergraduates at Bastyr University, Kenmore, Washington, for the fifth consecutive year.  
Experiences with FairWild implementation were a main feature of the lecture. 
The experiences of the project "Engaging China's private sector in the sustainable management of medicinal plants - the multiplier effect" have been published in a final report, including policy recommendations. © TRAFFIC 
The mountainous regions of Pakistan are rich in resources such as Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae spp.) © ProFound
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae spp.) © Kirechko / Russian Wikipedia

New publications of interest

How social and environmental labels both help and hinder pursuit of a fair, sustainable future. Article by Michael Solomon, Director of R100, featuring FairWild. Pioneers Post Quarterly, Autumn 2015.

TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 21 No.2 October 2015. Editorial by Anastasiya Timoshyna highlighting the urgent need to address the sustainability of trade in wild plants, and an article on Sustainability in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sector in China: the case for industry leadership.

Sustainable Wild Collection Protects People, Plants and Animals. A post by Josef Brinckmann on the importance of sustainable wild collection to Traditional Medicinals Inc.

Video: Green Economies in the Western Ghats. This documentary on two projects financed by the Critical Ecosystem Partnerships Fund (CEPF) shares the experience of AERF in implementing FairWild for Bibhitaki and Haritaki (Terminalia spp.) in India (from 5:13 min).

Illegal trade contributes to placing cacti among world’s most threatened species – IUCN Red List. The first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group found that thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, with illegal trade a major factor.

Asia: Biodiversity and human health: Implementing best practices in sustainable harvesting and trade of medicinal plants, Issue 6: Health and Wellbeing, NWFP Update, FAO. 

Sustainability in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sector in China: the case for industry leadership. SuLi Newsletter Issue 10.
Discussing tools for sustainable and legal trade in timber and non-wood forest products at the XIV World Forestry Congress © TRAFFIC
Discussing market opportunities for non-wood forest products from Kosovo. © ProFound 
The IUCN SSC Leaders in Abu Dhabi, 2015. © EAD 


FairWild Secretariat

The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street
Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK

T: +44 (0)1223 277427


Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation congress brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peopls, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.  © IUCN 



Edition 6: December 2015

Copyright © 2015 FairWild Foundation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

FairWild Foundation Secretariat
c/o TRAFFIC International
The David Attenborough Building 
Pembroke Street
Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK

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