American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin met Monday with the senior staff of TRAFFIC and the FairWild Foundation at the organizations' main office in Cambridge, England. 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 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 centered 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 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.”
AHPA has worked for many years with member companies to develop free resources to promote industry-wide sustainability practices, including:
AHPA also actively supports initiatives that promote sustainability, including: funding researchers at the University of Kansas from 2014-2018 for a multi-year harvest impact study on oshá (Ligusticum porteri); participating in meetings convened by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in 2004 and 2005 where the ISSC-MAP standard (predecessor to the FairWild standard) was created; conducting tonnage surveys since 1999 of articles derived from U.S. wild harvested plants; and attending CITES Plants Committee meetings since 2004.
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 www.ahpa.org
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, (www.traffic.org) is a leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC’s Mission is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. Read on about TRAFFIC’s programme support responsible wild plants trading practices: https://www.traffic.org/what-we-do/species/wild-plants/
About FairWild Foundation
The FairWild Foundation (www.fairwild.org) was established in 2008 to promote the sustainable use of wild-collected plant ingredients in trade and ensure a fair deal for the communities who harvest them. The FairWild Standard provides best practice guidelines on how to sustainably harvest, manage and trade in wild plants, and assesses the harvest and trade of wild plants, fungi and lichen against various ecological, social and economic requirements to protect ecosystems and help to ensure that harvesters receive a fair salary in ethical working conditions. Follow this link for information about how industry can get involved with FairWild initiative: http://www.fairwild.org/fairwild-week