Fairwild: Wild Yes, Wildy No
With a German and Swiss basis and inspiration, FairWild is an international certification system with a specific focus on the protection of wild plants and the development of the communities that gather them.
 
At the beginning of the 21st century, professionals involved in the trade and protection of medicinal and aromatic plants began reviewing the good agricultural practices that were recommended by organisations such as the WHO, the WWF and the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Beyond this review, their objective was to ‘fine-tune’ one of the recommendations, in order to ensure the sustainability of these natural resources and maintain compliance by local rural communities, whose survival often depends on these botanical species.
These professionals soon realised that with the exception of “standard” crops like tea and vanilla, the normal criteria used in fair trade (FLO, for example) and organic production were not precise enough for the specific range of plants used in medicines, cosmetics and foodstuffs. They therefore created a set of requirements and a certification system entitled the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP).
Based on economic, social and environmental criteria, this guarantee system has been in existence since 2005. The FairWild Foundation has been promoting it since 2008 among plant gatherers, businesses, traders, importers and exporters, etc., through various training and awareness programmes
Finished products using “FairWild plants” are authorised to bear the logo if they contain at least 75% certified ingredients.  If the proportion is lower, they can carry the wording “Contains FairWild ingredients. (1)
The first FairWild certified products are expected in North America and Europe in 2010. They will come from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
Traditional Medicinals (TM) is the first manufacturing company in the United States to obtain FairWild certification. A leader in fair trade certified medicinal teas, TM had identified a lack of sustainable trade certification for plants picked in the wild.
Out of almost 70,000 plant species used for medicinal purposes throughout the world, only some 3,000 are traded on an international scale.
For more information: www.fairwild.org
 
IN BRIEF
Creation: 2005.
Based at: Weinfelden, Switzerland (IMO) with secretariat at Frankfurt, Germany (WWF Germany)
Origin/need: The growing demand for natural products in the food, cosmetics and medicinal sectors is putting too much pressure on vulnerable plants, threatening local ecosystems and the plant gathering communities, who normally belong to the poorest social groups.
Sector: picking/gathering (fruits, nuts, plants, mushrooms, berries, etc.)
What is guaranteed: Maintenance of MAP resources (wild Medicinal and Aromatic Plants); prevention of harmful effects on the environment; compliance with laws, regulations, agreements, the common law; establishment of responsible management practices; fair working conditions and commercial relationships; fair commercial behaviour and quality awareness.
Stakeholders: NGOs, consumers, public authorities, businesses, experts in conservation, fair trade, FLO and ILO requirements.
Beneficiaries: Independent producers, cooperatives, factories, businesses/ brand holders.
Type of assessment: internal, second and third party inspections.
Methods: analysis of the documentary system, pre-announced visits to collection sites, interviews with internal and external stakeholders.
Sector activities concerned: production, import/export, processing.
Requirements: the FairWild requirements are a combination of the old FairWild standard (social section) with the ISSC MAP standard (environmental section). A revised version is planned for 2010. Available on www.fairwild.org
Room for manoeuvre: checklist with grading system (0 = non-compliant; 1 = basic compliance; 2 = compliant with requirements; 3 = exceptional). 90% of the points in the requirements must be achieved during the 1st year. All the main points must be achieved.
Improvement procedure: 95% must be achieved during the 2nd year, 100% during the 3rd year.

The programme is aimed at maintaining the sustainability of natural resources and compliance on the part of local rural communities. 
 
HOW DO I GET FAIRWILD CERTIFICATION?
1. Contact the FairWild Foundation / Institute for Marketecology (IMO).
2. IMO will send the inspection and certification offer
3. The future holder of the certificate (importer or plant gatherer) pays for the offer.
4. The inspection is scheduled and carried out.  It lasts between two and three days.
5. IMO carries out the assessment and certification.  Annual follow-up inspections may be carried out by other accredited organisations.

HOW MUCH DOES FAIRWILD CERTIFICATION COST?
The costs of inspection depend on the rates charged by each inspection organisation and the number of days necessary to carry out the inspections (size, complexity, types of product).  At present, IMO is the only organisation approved by FairWild.  The costs are borne by the holder of the certificate, which may be the importer or the plant-gathering organisation.
The licence costs are fixed at 1% of annual turnover.  The internal development costs are borne by the developing organisation.
Payment of a premium is guaranteed.  This may be added to the price of the final product and is intended to fund social investment within the plant gathering communities.

CULTURAL HERITAGE IS PRESERVED
Traditional customs, access rights and the cultural heritage are at the heart of the FairWild approach.  The local communities and indigenous peoples that have legal or customary rights keep the necessary control over the protection of rights, resources and the aromatic and medicinal plant gathering operations.  Some projects are designed to implement agreements to share the benefits produced by genetic resources.
 

[1] Cf. http://www.fairwild.org/labelling (three options)

Text from:  "FAIR AND SUSTAINABLE TRADE: so many labels and guarantee systems… What should I choose for my products?", Trade for Development Centre, free to download.