Protecting biodiversity and natural resources
Worldwide, biodiversity is at risk. Although many international organisations, governments and companies are trying to stop the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, much still needs to done as the current rate of global diversity loss is estimated to be a 1000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. By developing sustainable value chains, ProFound contributes to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity. We believe that this can be achieved through sustainable sourcing, thus contributing to economic development.
As we highly value preservation of biodiversity, we like to promote BioTrade using UNCTAD’s definition: ‘Products which are collected, produced, transformed and commercialised and are derived from species of native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability’. We also include naturalised products according to the definition of BioTrade: plants that have become part of a specific, local biodiversity setting, which enriches or maintains biodiversity.
BioTrade products can be based on both wild-collection and cultivation in a local biodiversity setting. Sustainable cultivation, harvesting practices and their certification play an important role in this aspect, as does benefit sharing with producing communities and knowledge holders.
We often work with wild-collected ingredients where maintaining biodiversity is key for future availability of the species, for example in our work with gums in Ethiopia and pine nuts in Pakistan. We give suppliers the tools to harvest their wild-collected ingredients sustainably. By implementing sustainable harvest practices, collectors also protect the forests or fields where they collect. We support suppliers to demonstrate their practices with certifications as well.
We also believe that cultivation can go hand in hand with rich biodiversity. We help suppliers develop strategies to produce in biodiverse production systems instead of mono-culture plantations. In ProFound’s tea project in Sri Lanka we developed a forest garden system for tea production. Planting different tree crops in the tea plantation reduced erosion and soil degradation and improved biodiversity.
ProFound currently works on biodiversity in South-East Asia, Pakistan, Ethiopia and South Africa.