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FairWild sustainability solutions on show at BioFach 2017

Bryony Morgan, Executive Officer of the FairWild Secretariat, and Kirsten Palme, TRAFFIC Project Officer in Europe, in conversation on the FairWild Foundation stand at BioFach 2017. © Anastasiya Timoshyna / TRAFFICNuremburg, Germany, February 2017— Earlier this month the BioFach trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany, brought customers, suppliers and manufacturers together with a variety of stakeholders from across the organic sector.

FairWild Foundation was present as an exhibitor at the fair, encouraging those involved with the trade in natural ingredients to ensure the sustainable and equitable use of wild resources.

Between 15th – 18th February, the FairWild stand in Hall 4 became a meeting hub for those interested in sustainable sourcing (and in trying a cup of FairWild herbal tea!). Visitors to the fair also had the opportunity to participate in special events, sharing experience on sustainable trade and how to establish FairWild value chains.

Events, guest speakers and a new accreditation programme

Bert-Jan Ottens, FairWild Board member, explains the outcome of a benchmarking project carried out by ProFound-Advisors in Development, that has integrated FairWild requirements with those of organic regulations and other fair trade standards. © Anastasiya Timoshyna / TRAFFICThis year’s event “FairWild Standard – sustainability solutions for wild-collected ingredients” explored how FairWild principles and criteria can be used to support the traceability, quality and safety of certified products, integrated with addressing sustainability concerns and supporting harvesters and their communities. It was moderated by Steven Broad, FairWild Board member and Executive Director of TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

Guest speakers from the Organic Herb Trading Company, Traditional Medicinals, NATEVA and Neal’s Yard Remedies shared their perspectives, explaining the benefits and challenges of implementing the certification scheme together with supplier partners.

This was followed by updates from FairWild Foundation, including the launch of a new accreditation and auditor training programme for the FairWild certification bodies.

According to FairWild Board member and accreditation co-ordinator Elisabeth Rüegg, “The decision to accredit additional qualified certification bodies will allow the FairWild scheme to be offered worldwide, and give wild-collection operators more options over which certifier they work with.

As Rüegg outlined during the presentation, FairWild Foundation is now open to enquiries from certification bodies interested to become accredited for the certification scheme. Phase 1 of the accreditation programme in 2017 involves pilots with applicant certifiers, with a full system anticipated to be in place by January 2018.

Board member Bert-Jan Ottens also introduced a new tool in development by his company ProFound – Advisors in Development. The tool is intended to help wild collection operations put in place a management and documentation system for the harvest and trade of wild ingredients, which will assist them to more readily fulfil the requirements of the multiple certification schemes that may be requested by their buyers (i.e. FairWild, organic, other fair trade standards).

Perspectives on using the FairWild framework

Mr. Mohammed Durrani, Hunza Organics, comments on experiences with FairWild in Pakistan during the FairWild presentation at BioFach 2017. © Anastasiya Timoshyna / TRAFFICDuring a Q&A session, participants from CBI, Control Union Sri Lanka, and Hunza Organics gave their perspectives on using the FairWild framework within the context of a project supporting the natural ingredients sector in Northern Pakistan. The CBI programme jointly with a UNDP-GEF initiative has provided training on FairWild to companies and certification auditors, and aims to support Hunza Organics and several other participating companies to gain joint FairWild and organic certification later this year.

Joost Staffhorst, CBI Country Programme Manager for Pakistan, explained how the FairWild Standard is helping companies in Pakistan to meet the requirements of European export markets. Wild collection operations have the potential to receive a price premium for certified sustainable ingredients, but more fundamentally, have a management system in place that will allow them and their buyers to demonstrate how their products meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements in European and North American markets – an aspect that had also been stressed by Josef Brinckmann, Traditional Medicinals in his presentation on FairWild’s contribution to quality assurance.

Members of the audience also asked questions about how the FairWild Standard can support implementation of the CBD’s Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing; links between sustainable harvesting and landscape level protection, including strengthening of traditional rights over the resources; and how companies can better educate the public on issues of sustainability, without “greenwashing”. Their questions led to a lively exchange of information and opinions among the audience and panel of speakers.

Experience with the FairWild Standard was also shared through other relevant events during BioFach, including the Congress session "Creating a sustainability framework for forest, food and non-timber products". This event explored sustainability at multiple levels, with a focus on new tools and technologies to support sustainable and transparent management of natural resources.

Partnering for success

TRAFFIC, a partner Fran Patsika introduces B’Ayoba’s FairWild-certified baobab products on the Organic Africa Pavilion. © Anastasiya Timoshyna / TRAFFICof the FairWild Foundation, was also present at the fair to support the FairWild exhibition, and make connections for a number of projects worldwide that draw on FairWild Standard as a sustainability framework.

Those presented included implementation of the FairWild principles
with community organizations in the Bac Kan province of Viet Nam; piloting FairWild certification in China’s Guangxi, Sichuan and Jilin provinces; and a recently launched project in Europe’s Danube region to strengthen joint and integrated approaches and policies for the conservation and sustainable use of protected areas, including the presentation of FairWild principles as an example of sectoral best practice (see PDF).

Bryony Morgan, Executive Officer of the FairWild Secretariat, commented, “It was very positive to see that the level of interest in sustainable sourcing remains high. A number of initiatives – such as our own FairWild accreditation system, as well as the projects of partner organisations – that have been a long time in the making are now starting to bear fruit. We are all looking forward to making progress in the year ahead!”

FairWild Foundation’s presence at BioFach was supported by Friends of FairWild donations, and partner organisations. FairWild Foundation would particularly like to thank the event speakers Eileen Clark (OHTC), Josef Brinckmann (Traditional Medicinals), Walter de Boeck (NATEVA) and Susan Curtis (Neal’s Yard Remedies).