Transforming international trade in wild plant ingredients: experiences with the FairWild Standard

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    The FairWild Standard (www.fairwild.org) is a collection of eleven principles guiding the sustainable collection and fair trade in wild harvested plant ingredients. Created through a multi-stakeholder consultation process, it is maintained by the FairWild Foundation, a non-profit entity established with the aim to “provide a worldwide framework for implementing a sustainable, fair and value-adding management and trading system for wild-collected natural ingredients and products thereof.” The FairWild Foundation has a Board of Trustees drawn from the different stakeholder groups and organisations involved in the Standard creation process.

    Today, the FairWild Standard forms the backbone around which a cluster of over 20 companies and a wide range of other actors are actively collaborating, through the framework provided by the FairWild certification scheme. The Standard is also being used in other contexts, to influence corporate policy and practice, international conservation policy, and resource management systems at national and local levels. The FairWild principles have thus been used to spark experimentation with approaches to sustainable production and equitable trade, with active exchange of ideas between the many individuals and organisations engaged, from civil society, public and private sectors.

    I will give an overview of the Standard creation process and the actors involved, and will share the creative tensions, successes and challenges we have faced in attempting to put into practice these sustainability principles. Finally, I will look for links between this practical initiative and ongoing academic research into trade in wild harvested plants.