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February 20, 2015
A new project focused on supporting the reliability of herbal ingredients could help empower industry to become a leader in sustainable and ethical sourcing of botanicals.
The Sustainable Herbs Project, recently announced by the American Botanical Council, will involve the production of an interactive documentary following medicinal plants through the supply chain. Using stories, videos and facts, the project will encourage greater support for developing sustainable supply chains, provide resources for smaller botanical companies to do so, and launch a more educated consumer movement to back high-quality botanicals with ethical sourcing.
Ann Armbrecht, Ph.D., and Terrence Yolk, producers of the award-winning documentary “Numen: the Nature of Plants," will gather stories from people involved in each sector of the botanical industry to document how sustainable and transparent supply chains are created, as well as the impact the supply chains have on biodiversity conservation.
According to Armbrecht, the project can empower industry by creating a more educated consumer base with a better understanding of how herbal products are brought to market, helping to build consumers’ trust in the ingredients.
“By showing examples of and challenges to responsible practices, this site will support a climate that encourages greater transparency in the industry," Armbrecht said. “More transparency in the industry will decrease skepticism among consumers and the media about what goes on behind the scenes."
She added that the project will provide resources for companies that want to shift to more sustainable practices but do not know where to begin. The toolkit will be based on case studies and examples from companies already taking these steps, and it will provide information for small- and medium-sized companies who are navigating the regulatory climate.
Overall, the project will be beneficial because consumers who are educated on sustainable and ethical sourcing will support companies who are currently working toward these objectives, Armbrecht concluded.
The team hopes to fully fund its project in order to offer the website free of charge. All pledges must be submitted by February 26 to meet the goal of $54,000. To make a contribution, visit the Sustainable Herbs Project kickstarter website.
Also, be sure to attend the Ingredient Marketplace featured discussion panel on April 8, titled “Adulteration & Your Role in Delivering Value to Consumers: Quality, Safety & Efficacy." The panel will discuss companies’ roles in ensuring a secure supply chain, and it will use the New York Attorney General’s investigation as a starting point to analyze responsibility and next steps.
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