Viet Nam News
HCM City — Representatives of NGOs, corporations, government agencies, and community plant harvester consortiums took part in TRAFFIC’s Green Growth workshop in Hà Nội on Thursday to discuss the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable sourcing.
“Sustainability is key: in order to offer Việt Nam the support it needs moving forward, we need to understand the real challenges that people and companies face on their journey to becoming more sustainable,” Sarah Ferguson, director of TRAFFIC in Việt Nam, said.
The event brought together contributors from various links in the plant-processing trade chain to determine how trade in legal wildlife products could be managed for sustainability, providing benefits to all parties.
It featured a review of TRAFFIC’s recently completed project working with wild medicinal and aromatic plant collectors in the northern province of Bắc Kạn, which saw them increase their income from the jiaogulan plant by 30 per cent.
Fourteen per cent of the province’s population lives below the poverty line.
Project participants were trained in sustainable harvesting techniques and taught how to negotiate better trade contracts.
Over 15 groups were formed during the project, which benefited nearly 1,000 collectors, including 415 women.
Representatives of TRAFFIC and Bắc Kạn’s Forest Protection Department reflected on the achievements of the initiative and said the model was suitable for replication across Việt Nam and for other plant species.
The FairWild Standard, an international best practices framework for wild plant trade, was put forth as a means by which companies could ensure they were meeting global standards in product quality, labour practices and sustainability.
Việt Nam is home to around 4,000 species of medicinal and aromatic plants, which provide key ingredients for food, medicines and cosmetics.
However, many of them are under threat due to destructive harvesting practices, uncontrolled trade and a lack of monitoring and enforcement.
Improving links along trade chains, building capacity for sustainable harvesting and promoting equitable trade are crucial for their conservation.
The workshop was funded by the Darwin Initiative, a UK government programme that works to protect bio-diversity and the natural environment through locally based projects world-wide. — VNS