Published 2 August 2017

“FairWild Week” to champion sustainable wild plant harvesting

The FairWild Foundation will launch the first ever “FairWild Week” to champion the vital need to harvest wild plant ingredients sustainably. The inaugural event will take place between 21–27th August, with the support of FairWild partners such as TRAFFIC, and involvement of FairWild certification scheme participants including Pukka Herbs, Traditional Medicinals, Neal’s Yard Remedies, London and Scottish and Dr. Jackson’s.

FairWild Week 2017 will be based online, inspiring curiosity and excitement about the amazing plant species we all depend upon and responding to the need for greater public awareness about the issues of wild plant harvesting and trading. More than 20 companies, NGOs and other stakeholders are expected to participate in FairWild Week.

Wild plants benefit the lives of billions of people, and their derivatives can be found in everyday products ranging from food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to your favourite herbal tea—but it’s extraordinary how many people just take wild plants for granted

Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s wild plant trade expert

“FairWild Week aims to promote the message that we’ll use and lose wild plants if harvesting practices aren’t sustainable—and that’s why we need the FairWild Standard.” 

During the week, the public will be invited to test their knowledge on wild plants. The award winning WhyGoWild site provides insights into the use of wild plants in medicine and daily life. Take the plant quiz to find out how much you already know!

Created in 2006, the FairWild Standard protects the rights of collectors, promotes sustainability and ensures harvesting doesn’t threaten species, ecosystems or local communities. It is the only standard that provides an exclusive tool for the establishment of sustainable wild plant collection.

Around 60,000 plant species are used for their medicinal properties alone, the majority of them collected from the wild. Millions of people rely on wild harvested plants for medicine, with 30% of drugs sold globally containing plant-derived compounds. Yet one in five wild plants species is currently under threat. Many ingredients are also harvested without consideration of the long term ecological or community effects. 

Added to this, the recent meteoric rise in popularity of natural, organic and wild-harvested ingredients makes the use of sustainable harvesting practices fundamentally important to ensure the protection of ecosystems, as well as the communities that depend on them.

Projects supporting the implementation of the FairWild Standard’s principles are being implemented across the world, ranging from locations throughout Central and Southeast Europe to countries including India, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe and Georgia–all the projects are designed to fit with the social structures specific to wild collection, meeting the needs of collectors and their communities.

Over 300 tonnes of FairWild certified ingredients, derived from around 20 species of wild plants whose collection practices and supply meet the FairWild Standard criteria, were used by food, health products and cosmetic manufacturers in 2016.

FairWild Week aims to engage the pioneering companies from the FairWild certification scheme (wild collection operations, traders, manufacturers) in sharing messages about sustainable sourcing and the FairWild Standard to their customers, and beyond. The herbal product manufacturer Pukka Herbs has made a particular contribution to the campaign, developing a series of videos about FairWild and wild plant sustainability issues. 

Consumers will learn how they can be part of the solution by looking for the FairWild logo on packaging, which guarantees that the product contains wild plant ingredients that have been harvested and traded in a way that protects both the plant and the collector–so we can enjoy their benefits for generations to come.

Check out FairWild’s facebook and twitter pages throughout the week for videos, facts and success stories and visit the FairWild website for more information. 

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.