WHAT IS FAIRWILD?
FairWild is a new verification system that has specifically been designed to offer a meaningful and comprehensive guidance framework and certification option for all sustainably collected wild plant, fungi and lichen species worldwide. Version 2.0 of the FairWild Standard covers both ecological sustainability and aspects of fair trade and social sustainability.
WHY WAS FAIRWILD CREATED AND WHAT’S ITS SIGNIFICANCE?
The FairWild Standard has closed a gap that had not been covered by other standards and certification systems. Most Fair Trade certification schemes focus on cultivated plants; organic and related certification systems, even if applicable to wild collected species, do not include many criteria that are important for wild collection situations, especially concerning ecological sustainability requirements as resource assessment and determination of a sustainable yield. Besides certification, the FairWild Standard can be applied in a variety of other scenarios, including resource assessment, the development of management plans and legislative frameworks (see also FAQ 4). Hence, it is the only standard that provides an exclusive tool for the establishment of sustainable wild collection, related certification and logo use for all relevant operations.
What are the benefits of getting FairWild certified?
FairWild Certification enables companies to show and communicate to the end consumers that their products are sourced and produced in a socially and ecologically sound way. Benefits are felt by all those involved right down to the local communities harvesting the wild plants.
Who implements FairWild?
The FairWild Standard provides a set of best practice principles for wild collection, that can be applied in a number of different ways (for all implementation forms other than certification – see question 4). Projects promoting adherence to the principles and supporting their implementation are being carried out by the FairWild Foundation and partner organisations worldwide. Audits under the certification scheme (to verify that wild collection operations are meeting the provisions of the FairWild Standard) are carried out by independent control bodies that have been approved by the FairWild Foundation.
For more information on accreditation processes, certification, and control bodies visit our FairWild Certification page.
Can FairWild only be implemented through certification?
No. The FairWild Standard can be implemented in several ways, for example:
a) Guidance for Resource Management. In many wild collection situations, certification is not relevant because there is no market for a certified product. Still, the provisions of the FairWild Standard and accompanying guidance documents e.g. on resource assessment and resource management are very valuable for such operations, for they can provide a set of key guidance documents for the development of sustainable resource management. This can be of interest for resource managers and producing or trade companies, NGOs and governments alike. A number of pilot projects have focused on this implementation option.
b) Laws and regulations. As a particularly interesting option for governments and NGOs, the FairWild Standard, either as a whole or in certain segments, can provide guidance for legislative processes or be referred to by relevant legislation as a voluntary or compulsory tool for the establishment of wild collection management plans and practices.
c) Private standards. The FairWild Standard can be used as a model or guidance by private sector companies or other groups to set up their own adapted wild collection guidance.
For all implementation options, the FairWild Foundation can provide expertise, consultancy and other support. For details and related costs please contact the FairWild Foundation.
What is the major difference to other current organic or fair trade certification?
FairWild and organic certification are fundamentally different. Organic certification is based on the principles of organic agriculture (e.g. organic fertilisation; absence of chemical fertilisation, pesticides, herbicides and other prohibited inputs), while FairWild focuses on the ecological and social sustainability of wild collected plants in a wider sense. Another major difference is that organic certification is regulated in the major markets (European, US and Japanese), whereas FairWild is a private standard and certification scheme.
Organic certification is predominantly used for cultivation operations, but can also be applied to wild collection. While the different organic regulations do have some requirements on ensuring sustainability of wild crop harvesting, the guidance for implementation is typically quite vague. This results in certifiers establishing different handling procedures and requirements, and a variable quality of certification with regards to sustainability and traceability of the wild collected ingredients. FairWild certification is much more specific on these aspects, providing a higher level of control. Under FairWild certification, the use of harmful chemical inputs that would be banned under organic schemes is similarly restricted; however, the certification is not equivalent to organic. In practice, many of the FairWild-certified operators also obtain a separate organic certification.
FairWild has much in common with other Fair Trade schemes such as FLO Certified, IMO Social and FairTrade (Fair for Life), EcoCert FairTrade, sharing virtually the same social principles. The major difference is that FairWild focuses on wild collection, while most other Fair Trade schemes have been designed for the certification of agriculture and products derived from it. The organisation of wild collection is typically very different from that found in agriculture, and hence the social and fair trade issues arising are also quite unique. The requirements of the FairWild scheme are designed to fit with the social structures specific to wild collection, meeting the needs of collectors and their communities. Also, no geographic restrictions are placed on the availability of FairWild certification, unlike many other Fair Trade schemes
Does FairWild certification also apply to cultivated crops?
No. FairWild has specifically been designed for wild collection situations. However, this also includes the collection of plants, lichens or fungi or parts or products thereof on cultivated land if the target species for collection are only a by-product and not the target of cultivation. Likewise, the FairWild Standard can be applied to wild collection operations that work with enrichment planting or similar tools in natural habitats.
Can I get certification if I only implement the ecological or fair trade requirements of the Standard, not both?
No. If an operation wants to obtain FairWild certification, all of the Standard’s Principles and Criteria – covering both ecological and social concerns – must be complied with.
What are the costs of certification?
Calculations of the cost of the certification audit are made individually. They depend on the location, size and complexity of operations and include audit, evaluation, certification and office costs. Time needed to achieve compliance with FairWild requirements also depends on the status and organization of the project.
Licence fees for the use of the FairWild mark in relation to product labelling and marketing are an additional cost factor. Licencees must declare their sales of products containing FairWild-certified ingredients by submitting a turnover declaration form. This is carried out annually in January. A licence fee is calculated by the FairWild Foundation based on the turnover declaration.
For those companies involved in trading and processing of FairWild-certified ingredients, trader registration fees are applicable.
What certified products are already available from which countries?
FairWild-certified ingredients are available from producer companies in a number of countries worldwide. Certification audits (according to FairWild Standard version 1.0) began in 2007, with the first products containing FairWild-certified ingredients available on the market in 2009. Currently, products containing certified ingredients are mostly herbal teas. Wholesale distribution companies as well as finished product companies currently offering FairWild certified ingredients or products are listed on the website and can be contacted for further details. For the latest participating companies and ingredients, see our Buy FairWild page.
Is there any limitation regarding countries, types of products etc.?
There is no limitation imposed by the FairWild Foundation with regard to countries. The accredited certification body, IMO, should be contacted to check any restrictions on availability of the audit and inspection services. As for products, FairWild certification is applicable to all wild-harvested plants (except for timber products). For certification enquiries related to lichens and fungi, see below and please contact the FairWild Foundation Secretariat for the latest information.
Does the FairWild Standard apply to fungi, and is certification possible?
Q: Does the FairWild Standard apply to mushrooms?
A: Yes, mushrooms and other fungi are within the scope of the FairWild Standard if they are products collected from the wild, ingredients processed from wild-collected fungi, or finished products containing wild-collected fungi.
Q: Is it possible now for FairWild to certify wild-collected fungi?
A: Not yet. The FairWild Foundation is currently working with fungi conservation experts to adapt some of our certification tools (e.g. risk analysis factors and sustainable harvest management indicators) to better apply to fungi.
Q: How soon will it be possible to apply for FairWild certification for wild-collected fungi?
A: We hope to have a pilot project for fungi certification in process in 2019. We will use the pilot to test and improve the new FairWild certification tools for fungi.
Q: How can interested companies be involved?
A: FairWild welcomes interested companies to:
Propose and support a pilot project for FairWild certification of wild-collected fungi
Review and comment on draft fungi certification tools.
When is the next revision of the FairWild standard planned?
The FairWild Standard version 2.0 was produced in August 2010. This revision process combined all the essential elements of the original FairWild Standard with the ecological principles of ISSC-MAP, and drew on the experiences and lessons learned through practical application of the Standard in the field. The FairWild Standard will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis, and open consultations will be announced on the FairWild website.
FairWild requires a fair price to be paid to collectors. How is this price set?
The fair price relates to the price paid by the certified collection operation to its collectors when buying the wild collected (crude processed or fresh) products from them. As a wide range of products are collected and prices often fluctuate considerably, it is challenging to monitor whether the prices paid are indeed fair. For this reason, the FairWild system requires transparent price calculations and pricing mechanisms to allow informed negotiations on prices between collectors and the collection company.
Several factors are taken into account in setting the price paid to collectors:
Prices paid to collectors for the FairWild target products should be on average 5% higher than the prices paid by comparable companies in the same region for the same conventional (non certified, non-organic or other quality standard certified) wild harvested products. Best practice would be a much higher price, e.g. more than 10% higher.
Prices should provide enough income to cover the basic needs of the collectors and their families.
The price should also be based on the result of the collection operation’s cost calculations, comprising all cost items, including fair payment to collectors and workers, management and production costs and observation of all legal requirements.
How are FairWild sales prices (of the certified ingredients) calculated?
The FairWild sales price refers to sales of the certified wild plant ingredients by the FairWild collection operation, and is negotiated with its direct buyer (e.g. trader, manufacturer). Minimum prices for sale of specific plant ingredients have not been established, and there is no set percentage mark-up. Therefore, the FairWild indicators on cost calculation, financial viability and accountable trade relations are the mechanism that ensures a fair price has been paid to the FairWild-certified collection operation by the next buyer in the chain.
The sales price is based on the cost calculations of the collection operation. It should cover the FairWild collection operation’s costs (including the fair price paid to collectors and other increased costs of participating in the FairWild scheme, such as investment into improved resource management) and allow a margin for profitability.
What is the FairWild Premium Fund?
The FairWild Premium is paid to the collectors / collectors’ associations reflecting the efforts made by the collectors and all other actors in the supply chain to arrive at sustainable wild collection, production and sales of the respective final products. It is usually 10% over the individual collector’s selling price. It is intended for social development projects in the collectors’ communities, and must be responsibly managed in a Social Development Fund. In the first five years of certification, it may also be used to improve the sustainability of collection.
The producer group and the buyer should agree on the Premium Fund amount each year, how it will be disbursed, who is responsible for managing the fund, and what the specified uses will be. The independent inspector will, each year, request to see evidence that the contribution was made and that it was managed and utilised for the express purposes that were agreed upon by the producer group and buyer(s). It is possible that the fair trade buyers may participate in the agreement with the producer group concerning the Premium Fund amount and what it will be used for.
How is the Premium paid?
The FairWild Premium is usually paid by the next partner in the supply chain (collection centre, trader, company). If the amount is charged upstream to the final buyer (e.g. finished product manufacturer), this must be indicated in the invoices or sales contracts. The Premium can be paid as a single annual contribution to the wild collection enterprise’s fund or it could be a fixed agreed-upon amount that is added to each invoice as a separate line item. If it is charged directly on the sales invoices, these contributions to the Premium Fund should not be included within the raw material cost. This is a contribution that is earmarked for specific social uses and as such should not be reported as a component of the cost-of-goods-sold, earnings or operating income for the enterprise.
What should FairWild invoices look like?
Sales of FairWild-certified ingredients by the wild collection operation would typically show two line items:
FairWild ingredient X
FairWild basic price per kg (inclusive of extra X% paid to collectors)
Agreed-upon FairWild Premium contribution (to be directed to the Premium fund)
If legally possible and wished by either party, the FairWild price may be broken down into a standard basic price, plus Fair Trade mark-up. The invoice would thus have three separate lines. Breaking out the price mark-up on invoices may help stakeholders to better account for their social/environmental investments above and beyond the basic cost of the raw materials.