Memorandum encourages industry to help prevent biodiversity loss

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability Biodiversity

The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at encouraging the cosmetics industry to prevent biodiversity loss.

The big rise in popularity of natural and organic cosmetic products worldwide has led to an increase in crops that are grown specifically for ingredients used in these type of products, making the industry’s participation in sustainable biodiversity ever more important.

“One of UEBT's core sectors is the cosmetics industry, and the signing of this MOU highlights the recognition from the CBD that the cosmetics sector will play an important role in biodiversity protection in the future,”​ Rik Kutsch Lojenga, executive director for the UEBT.

The MOU, which was signed in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, will build on the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 – 2020, which has been designed to halt the loss of biodiversity and ensure that by 2020 ecosystems can have a structure in place to ensure resilience and sustainability.

Raising awareness of biodiversity

According to both the UEBT and the CBD, the MOU will see the two organisations working together on specific areas of the strategic plan, including increasing public awareness of biodiversity, promoting the engagement of the business community in biodiversity.

“With this MOU we will be providing tools and approaches to cosmetics companies so that they can contribute concretely to these objectives through their sourcing practices,”​ Lojenga added.

“In particular we will support understanding on issues such as Access and Benefit Sharing, which we know will have a significant impact on how companies use biodiversity for research and development in coming years.”

Biodiversty Barometer

The memorandum will see UEBT providing inputs on biodiversity awareness that will be communicated through its annual biodiversity awareness study, the Biodiversity Barometer.

Indeed, the UEBT 2011 Biodiversity Barometer flagged up the fact that one out of three consumers surveyed had heard about the International Year of Biodiversity, suggesting the importance of the business community having biodiversity on its radar.

“The business community can help advance the CBD objectives, which are biodiversity conservation, its sustainable use and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Implementing ethical sourcing practices is one way that companies can contribute to these objectives,”​ Lojenga said.

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