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The Panda Friendly Certification Project

 

An International Project to Create Sustainability for Healthy Panda Ecosystems and Economic Development

 

A significant number of important medicinal and economically useful plant species grow naturally in biodiversity “hotspots” throughout the world.  The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has identified the top 200 of these hotspots, called The Global 200, as areas that are increasing impacted by human encroachment, potentially endangering the native species of plants and animals that live there.  Many of these areas are already inhabited to some degree by humans, so it is felt that efforts should be made to protect the native species there using sustainability management programs and practices.

An important one of these biodiversity hotspots is the Upper Yangtze Ecoregion in the Sichuan province of China, home to the world’s endangered natural Panda Bear population.  WWF in conjunction with several partners is working to establish a sustainability management program for the region that is effective in protecting the biodiverse natural ecology of the region, including the Panda habitat. One way to assist sustainability efforts is to work with the local people to set up sustainability standards for harvesting plant materials that are currently in demand or have economic value to the region. This has the effect of helping divert economic activity toward species that are targeted for these practices and away from other more destructive uses of land, plants and animals in the habitat.

Panda Friendly Standards

In conjunction with WWF and a few government agencies, Draco Natural Products is working as a partner, along with botanical products manufacturer and Draco customer Traditional Medicinals to author and establish sustainability standards and a product certification program for botanical products that meet the WWF criteria for the Upper Yangtze ecoregion.  The program, called the Panda Friendly Program sets forth practices for sustainably growing and harvesting Panda Friendly products, helping to incentivize and empower the local people to benefit from sustainable practices while protecting indigenous plant and animal diversity and population size.

While a wide range of endemic botanical products is planned for inclusion, the first one is the Southern Schisandra berry (Schisandra sphenanthera).  Traditional Medicinals has a demand for this herb for beverage and food products and Draco provides the extraction processing of the raw materials in our GMP, ISO9001, organic processing facility in Shanghai.  Draco CEO and president, Jerry Wu, and Traditional Medicinals Director of R&D Josef Brinckmann have made several trips to the region to oversee the program.  It was successful in the first village in which they tried this program, so it has been expanded to 22 villages in the region, and has been successful at that scale for the last 2 years.  More villages and many more plant species will be added as the program expands. As this program has a chance to prove itself in Sichuan, it will be modeled and expanded into other regions in the WWF Global 200 biodiversity hotspot list to create product lines that are Tiger Friendly or Elephant Friendly, for example.

Josef Brinckmann Presents

At the natural products Supplyside West Expo and Convention in 2012, Josef Brinckmann gave a presentation about this program, which you may view on the Supplyside website here:

Josef