Sustainable Wild Collection

Many medicinal and aromatic plants are collected in the wild. They deliver substances for cosmetics, foods or medicines. Approximately 15.000 of up to 70.000 species of medicinal plants used worldwide are endangered by over-exploitation and loss of natural habitat. Most of them can often not be cultivated conventionally. Wild-crop collection ensures the basis of existence for the collectors and workers who often belong to the poorest sectors of the population of the countries of origin.
 
The Bio-Foundation, respectively IMO, has been active since 2001, promoting ecologically, economically and socially accountable standards in the field of wild collection. Together with various partners, IMO has developed a number of tools to ensure the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the plants and to provide the people involved in the collection and trade with a fair remuneration for their knowledge and work.
 
Besides a manual for organic wild collection, training courses for collectors and inspectors have been created. A very important step was the development of an internationally recognized standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (the so-called ISSC-MAP) which was compiled in collaboration with the German Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN), the International Conservation Union (IUCN), the WWF Germany and TRAFFIC. In 2008 this standard was integrated in the extended FairWild Standard to which IMO also made a highly significant contribution. Since then, this is the standard that provides governments, traders and collectors worldwide with concrete guidelines and instructions for an ecologically, socially and economically accountable wild collection. Within the framework of the Fair for Life Social Responsibility and Fair Trade programme, a module specifically for the certification of wild collection has also been created.
 
Numerous wild collection businesses, for example in Eastern Europe (Balkans and Caucasus), South America, South-East Asia and Africa, are already implementing the criteria of the different standards. The concrete instructions provide guidelines not only for collectors and traders but also for governments.
 
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