Published 21 September 2018


FairWild, TRAFFIC and American Herbal Products Association focus on sustainability in Cambridge meeting

Cambridge, UK, 21st September 2018 - TRAFFIC and the FairWild Foundation met the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin on Monday at TRAFFIC’s main office in Cambridge. The meeting was arranged to exchange ideas on how best to collaborate to encourage and support sustainable industry practices in procurement of wild plant species used in the U.S. herbal products industry.

TRAFFIC was represented at the meeting by its Executive Director, Steven Broad, and by Anastasiya Timoshyna, Programme Leader for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Bryony Morgan represented the FairWild Foundation as its Executive Officer.

“AHPA and its members have been addressing issues related to sustainable use of wild plants almost since our founding,” commented Michael McGuffin. “The first amendment to AHPA’s Code of Ethics was adopted in 1988 to establish a policy to refrain from trade in wild-harvested lady’s slippers (Cypripedium spp.), and in the three decades since we have continuously provided leadership and industry guidance on sustainable harvest issues, which are now gaining much more industry attention.”

Much of the discussion at the meeting centred on ideas to engage the herbal industry in programs to evaluate current practices that ensure sustainable supplies. Application of elements of the FairWild Standard were identified as useful tools in such programs, including certification to this standard, development of internal standards, and risk assessments for wild plant species in trade. The existence of significant industry resources was also acknowledged, as a number of herbal companies are already invested in and committed to programs and practices to ensure their herbal supplies are obtained sustainably.

Trade in wild-sourced plant ingredients is increasing year-on-year, and have potential to have either negative of positive impact on species and livelihoods.

If managed well, sustainable wild-harvesting and trade could contribute to conservation of other species and ecosystems, as well as multiple benefits to wild-harvesters and supply chain,” commented Steven Broad. “A combination of full traceability, compliance with existing regulations (for example for species listed in the CITES appendices), increasing the value to producers, and credible certification schemes, like FairWild, are important elements of creating conditions for an all-encompassing 'win-win' situation. We are excited to explore the opportunities for collaboration with AHPA in creating the positive momentum for greater traceability and sustainability of trade in wild plants."

"AHPA is looking forward to opportunities to collaborate with and support the efforts of TRAFFIC and the FairWild Foundation as we further address our mutual interest in best practice for sustainable procurement of the wild plants used in some of our most important herbal products,” noted Holly Johnson, AHPA’s Chief Science Officer. “And we will continue to engage with our members on the broader issue of sustainable sourcing of both wild and cultivated herbal commodities.”

About FairWild

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.

About AHPA (American Herbal Products Association)

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA is comprised of more than 350 member companies, consisting primarily of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products as foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs, and also including companies that provide expert services to the herbal trade. More at