The FairWild Standard as a tool for conserving life-saving medicinal plants under threat


An estimated 60,000 Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) species are used globally for their medicinal properties alone. Wild harvest and trade provides a critical source of income, particularly for the rural poor in developing countries. It underpins production of numerous traditional medicines, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and other products. Annual international trade in pharmaceutical plants alone averages half a million tonnes, and was valued at over $2 billion in 2012, with nearly half exported from Asia. Wild plants make a significant contribution to Asian economies. As many as one-fifth of all plant species are threatened with extinction, with MAP populations around the world declining due to over-harvest. This is of particular concern for livelihoods and businesses in developing countries, where reliance on MAPs is high, human populations and environmental pressures are increasing, and enforcement of environmental controls is low.

In response to this global problem, TRAFFIC – a key partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative – along with WWF, IUCN, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and others developed the FairWild Standard. It provides guidance on sustainable and equitable sourcing of wild plant products. The Standard and guidance tools are now being used by industry to improve product-sourcing guidelines, by governments to design harvest and trade controls, by communities in their management systems, and by intergovernmental agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Read more about ways on how the FairWild Standard can be used for sustainable conservation of medicinal plants under threat in a recent article by the Deutsche Welle here

Learn more about TRAFFIC’s work on promoting the use of the FairWild Standard here