Published 18 October 2012

Are you FairWild ?

Hyderabad, India, 18th October 2012 – The use of the FairWild Standard as a tool to help government policy-makers to engage the private sector in ensuring sustainable use of wild plants was explored at a side event held earlier this week at the meeting of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) currently under way in Hyderabad, India.

Sebastian Pole CEO of Pukka Herbs, presenting about FairWild

Over 40 participants gathered to join in the lively discussions on effective policy-making for sustainable use of wild plants.  Speakers included representatives from TRAFFIC, the FairWild Foundation, the UK company Pukka Herbs Ltd, the Government of Madhya Pradesh, India, and the Savandurga Village Forest Committee, India, sharing experiences particularly from India. 

The event entitled “‘Going wise’: mutual benefits for plant-based businesses and national policy-makers in sustainable use of wild plants” was co-ordinated by TRAFFIC, with the FairWild Foundation and IUCN-Medicinal Plant Specialist Group as co-organizers. Financial support was provided by WWF Japan. 

The session brought together the perspectives of producers, NGOs, business and governments, promoting discussion on how tools such as the FairWild Standard--a set of best practice guidelines for sustainable and equitable trade in wild plant resources--can help shape trade relations between producers and the wider market. 

Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s Medicinal Plants Programme Leader, started the event by introducing the FairWild Standard, emphasizing that, “By providing these examples of good practices, we hope to promote understanding among policy-makers of the possibility of using wild plants sustainably”.

“The FairWild Standard can be used as a tool to help CBD Parties, other governments and the private sector to implement Targets 11, 12 and 13 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)”, she said. “It is available in 13 different languages--a truly global tool. We are happy to report that the FairWild Standard is now included in Japan’s National Biodiversity Strategy as the best practice instrument for private sector compliance”.

Sebastian Pole, Co-Founder, Pukka Herbs Ltd., said “FairWild embodies what sustainable harvesting is all about. It is about ensuring that the benefits of what we take from communities are shared back with them. The challenge is to educate collectors about sustainable harvesting and communicate sustainability messages effectively to consumers’.

‘The implementation of FairWild is challenging, but Pukka Herbs is convinced this is the way to go in ensuring sustainability of harvesting and trade’- added Sebastian Pole. ‘Application of FairWild provides for conservation through business, protecting future of supplies and the livelihoods of suppliers’. Pukka Herbs launched the first FairWild certified tea (peppermint and Licorice) in the UK market earlier in 2012, and is looking into expanding the range of FairWild products, beyond UK market.

The involvement of the private sector in plant conservation is critical. Over 50,000 medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) species are used globally for health, food and cosmetics, providing an important source of income-generation for many national economies and rural communities. At the same time, one-fifth of MAP species are threatened because of over-harvesting and land conversion. 

Sri Jayadevaiah, President of the Savandurga Village Forest Committee, India, shared experiences of implementing the FairWild Standard on the ground in the State of Karnataka. “We have developed a sustainable harvesting methodology for a number of medicinal plant species used by our community, and are now able to train other communities in sustainable harvesting”. This presentation was supported by a demonstration of several species for which adaptive management practices have been developed, together with Mr Muthaiah, the village botanist. This part of the side event was communicated in the Kannada language, with translation supported by Mr Jagannatha Rao from I-AIM/FRLHT.

Giridhar Kinhal, Additional Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Minor Forest Produce, India Forest Service, spoke at the event, saying “The FairWild Standard is unique because of its use of both ecological and fair trade principles. A large impact on sustainability of wild-harvesting can be achieved through the integration of FairWild principles into government policies. In Madhya Pradesh, medicinal and aromatic plants and non-timber forest product income belongs to harvesters. We are committed to introduce the sustainable use practices throughout the State”.

In the discussion that followed the presentations, questions were asked about companies in India changing their business practices towards sustainability, changing attitudes of consumers, and preference for the FairWild label. A representative of Dabur, one of largest traders of medicinal plants in India, commented on the variety of business activities for sustainability of production. Additional comments from the floor concerned integration of the FairWild principles into the Forest Working Plans in India, the need for additional capacity-building for communities, the importance of FairWild impact assessment, and support for community-to-community learning.

The event also highlighted the contribution of sustainable sourcing efforts to the delivery of Target 4 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Objective 3 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), and to support for the principles of the Nagoya Protocol. 

The FairWild Standard is included in the new toolkit for implementation of the GSPC ( as a means of best practice for delivery of Target 12 and contribution to the delivery of Aichi Target 4. TRAFFIC is also contributing to implementation of the Strategy as a member of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation (GPPC) ( 

Some of the participants in the 'Going Wise' side event