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FAQ Natural food and Products - Frequently Asked Questions - Organic Link - ITC(8)

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     Are environmental standards relevant for trade in natural products?

     Increase in the demand for high quality natural products has an impact on the volume of raw materials required to satisfy this demand. This makes sustainable harvesting methods increasingly important if the demand is to be met in the longer run and biodiversity should be preserved. The industry seems to be paying increasing attention to the environment, for example to sustainable collection practices, on the other hand legislation ensuring sustainable harvesting from nature is very limited. Relevant standards implying environmental sustainability include the Good Agricultural and Collection Practice (GACP) for Medicinal Plants, published by the World Health Organisation (www.who.org), standards for organic farming (for instance those of the Codex Alimentarius, www.codexalimentarius.org and those of the International Federation of Agriculture Movement, IFOAM, www.ifoam.org), as well as standards for forest management (for instance those of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), www.fsc.org). In general, environmental aspects of products have become an increasingly important issue in international trade. Other voluntary standards signaling improved environmental considerations include the ISO 14000 series (www.iso.org), of which ISO 14001 sets requirements for an environment management system.