Stakeholders identify tools and recommendations for sustainability practices at the III BioTrade Congress in Pyeongchang, Korea

16 October 2014

Participants at the III BioTrade Congress recognised the value of partnerships and cooperation by all stakeholders involved in the sustainable use and sourcing of biodiversity-based products and services.

The congress provided a platform for the public and private sectors, civil society and international and regional organizations to share experiences and explore avenues on how to foster business engagement in BioTrade activities.

"Conservation and sustainable use of natural resources through business engagement is crucial, " UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukisha Kituyi said in a video message. "However, governments, businesses, local communities and international organizations need to work together to ensure sustainability and fairness in Biotrade activities."

The congress identified different tools and practices applicable to sustainable sourcing and corporate social and environmental responsibility by different sectors including cosmetic, traditional medicine, fashion design and tourism.

Businesses such as Yves Rocher, MANE Industries and Gucci reflected on the importance given by consumers to sustainability and its impact to businesses branding strategies.

"Through BioTrade, all technical support to increase the quality of products and market access for producers is a great way forward," Convention on Biological Diversity's Executive Secretary Braulio Dias said.

All participants agreed on the importance and value of openness and transparency along the value chain and the inclusiveness of processes, especially of local and rural communities.

The III BioTrade Congress was organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with the support of the Swiss government development agency SECO in the margins of the Twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the CBD event, taking place on the day the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD entered into force.

With the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol, a new international agreement on access to and benefit-sharing of genetic resources, the congress was an opportune occasion to share different perspectives on the challenges and opportunities ahead for businesses engaged in BioTrade.

"Benefit sharing is an important tenant of BioTrade. A lot of BioTrade companies are into research development and therefore trigger Access and Benefit-Sharing obligations, " said Rik Kutsch Lojenga, Executive Director, Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT)

Dr. Kituyi said: "The private sector has the potential to become the engine of growth of BioTrade activities and the Nagoya Protocol opens a number of opportunities for this to happen." However, for these opportunities to be seized, there is the need to raise awareness and build trust among governments, the private sector and other stakeholders.

"We need to concentrate aid to where it is most needed but also where it can make a difference," said Pia Bucella , Director of Nature, Biodiversity and Land Use at the European Commission, Directorate-General for the Environment.

Dr. Dias called for partners and donors to try to engage many more countries in the BioTrade Initiative, as a key instrument in achieving the Aichi Targets and implementing the Nagoya Protocol. Dr. Dias emphasized the CBD Secretariat's as well as his personal commitment to be a strategic partner of the BioTrade Initiative.