CSCA accredited as FairWild certifier in China
Beijing, China, 25th October 2017—Today marked a special day as a signing ceremony was held between the FairWild Foundation and the China Standard Conformity Assessment Co., Ltd (CSCA)., marking the accreditation of the CSCA as the exclusive certifier for FairWild in the People’s Republic of China.
TRAFFIC, under a partnership agreement with the FairWild Foundation, is the registered focal point for the FairWild Standard in China, and has played an important role in facilitating the process to enable certification for the export market.
Mr. Li Tienan, Director of CSCA said, “As one of China’s most innovative control bodies, we are very much looking forward to this new stage of co-operation with the FairWild Foundation, to introduce this international certification standard in China.”
“In a world increasingly concerned about the safety and traceability of ingredients, as well as the environmental and social issues related to the consumption of wild resources, it is important for China to remain cutting edge and establish international co-operation to address sustainable sourcing issues. The FairWild Standard adds an important tool to CSCA’s certification portfolio, and we are keen to keep building and expanding our expertise on wild collection issues.”
The availability of FairWild certification audits in China has long been an ambition of the FairWild Foundation and the many other partners and stakeholders involved with the trade in wild medicinal and aromatic plants.
China is a major player in these ingredients, as highlighted in a recent publication by ITC-TRAFFIC, which identified the scale of the trade, as well as the huge potential opportunity for China’s medicinal plants production sector to benefit from the growing consumer and industry demand for certified sustainable, fairly traded products.
The co-operation between CSCA and FairWild Foundation began in 2015, with a connection facilitated under the TRAFFIC-led EGP-MAPs project—an EC-funded initiative which aimed to introduce corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable sourcing in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry. This culminated in an MoU signed in 2016, with agreement to work on a joint road map for the introduction of FairWild Standard and certification scheme in China.
Actions taken since have included the formal registration of the FairWild Standard with the government agency Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China (CNCA), and inclusion in their database of certifiable international standards.
Preceding the signing ceremony, earlier this month, there was a formal FairWild Auditor Training course—an intensive four-day event carried out in locations in Guangxi and Yunnan. The training was supported under the projects implemented by TRAFFIC and local partners, “Sustainable trade in wild medicinal and aromatic plants: linking biodiversity, communities and livelihoods in the Sino-Vietnamese Limestone corridor”, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), and “Sustainable use of China's five-taste berry and other medicinal plants”, funded by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund.
These projects aim to establish sustainable sourcing of wild plants and sustainable economic development to wild-harvesters in some of China’s most biodiverse habitats. Under the tuition of Michael Schwegler, a FairWild authorized trainer, six trainees received the training and passed the exam. In addition to the FairWild Auditor Training, verification of the project site against the principles and criteria of the FairWild Standard was carried out. It demonstrated critical areas for risk analysis, gap identification and improvement. Beyond the CEPF project target area in Guangxi, the training and verification will assist the implementation of best practice guidance on wild-harvesting in other areas of China.
Application of the FairWild Standard and introduction of the certification scheme is not only important to protect China’s precious resource base—the biodiversity and ecosystems on which we depend—but also to address rural development issues and introduce new skills and livelihood options, in line with the national strategy to pursue green development and build a beautiful China
Zhou Fei, TRAFFIC’s Head of Office in China“As a partner of the FairWild Foundation, we are very pleased to have played a role over a number of years to support the use of this internationally recognized Standard in China, including through this recent auditor training event in Guangxi.”
The auditor training programme was designed to give participants the knowledge and skills to be able to verify wild collection against the FairWild Standard requirements, and strengthen their understanding of the certification scheme framework and standard operating procedures. The final step remaining was the formal accreditation of CSCA as a certifier for the FairWild scheme, which was done through the contract signing today.
Elisabeth Rüegg, FairWild Foundation Board Member and Accreditation Co-ordinator, said, “The accreditation of CSCA marks a considerable milestone in the development of the FairWild certification scheme, and our ambitions to make this Standard internationally available. It opens up new exciting possibilities for the global medicinal and aromatic plants sector to source wild ingredients sustainably from this critically important source country. We look forward to working with CSCA on the path ahead!”
The increasing demand for wild plants—as ingredients for food, cosmetics, well-being and medicinal products—poses major ecological and social challenges. The pressure on potentially vulnerable plant species can endanger local ecosystems and the livelihoods of collectors, who often belong to the poorest social groups in the countries of origin.
As a response to these concerns, the FairWild Foundation is working with partners worldwide to improve the conservation, management and sustainable use of wild plants in trade, as well as the livelihoods of rural harvesters involved in wild collection. TRAFFIC has supported the development of the FairWild Standard, and now hosts the organization’s Secretariat under a partnership agreement.