The rules have changed and biodiversity-based R&D needs to be reviewed to be compliant

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

The rules have changed and biodiversity-based R&D needs to be reviewed to be compliant

Related tags: Maria julia oliva, European union

Companies utilising natural ingredients need to review their practices to be compliant with new regulations on biodiversity-based R&D being adopted in Europe and other countries around the world, according to the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT).

New rules on biodiversity-based R&D came into force last year, and this meant changes for Beauty and Food companies that innovate with natural ingredients.

The Nagoya Protocol, an international UN agreement currently binding over 55 countries, requires ABS (access and benefit sharing) permits for R&D into the genetic or biochemical components of biodiversity.

Such research would include, for example, exploring plant parts, extracts or oils for new cosmetics ingredients or for inspiration for synthetic material to include in fragrances.

Adopting the Protocol

Following the adoption of the UN Nagoya Protocol, the European Union has adopted regulation 511/2014, requiring companies to prove that biodiversity research permits have been secured as part of the market approval process for natural ingredients.

Countries such as France, Brazil, India, Mexico, Morocco or South Africa also have new rules on how biodiversity is accessed for research and development and how resulting benefits must be shared.

“Many questions remain unanswered,”​ states María Julia Oliva, an international expert from the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), “as to the practical implications of evolving rules on access and benefit sharing for innovation in natural ingredients.”

As an example, Oliva  explains that companies are still working to identify the critical control points for compliance with access and benefit sharing and develop procedures for securing necessary authorizations.

Conference focus

So with this in mind, Oliva’s organisation, the UEBT, is announcing its 2015 ‘Beauty of Sourcing with Respect’ conference which will be held on the 25th of June in Paris, and will feature several sessions looking at how ABS rules may affect practices on biodiversity-based R&D.

Attention will be paid to approaches to addressing ABS due diligence requirements under the EU regulation.

Regulatory updates in countries like India and Brazil will also be featured, as well as practical experiences with negotiating ABS agreements.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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