Wildlife Friendly Certification from Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network Augments Definition of Fair Trade Products and Service
Posted Mar 18 2009 3:13pm
Back in December, I told you about the fabulous website ClimateStandards.org and explained why its high standards
deserve everyone’s support. The good deeds of ClimateStandards.org have a
growing number of parallels in the marketplace, with a renewed emphasis on
consumer products and services.
I have maintained since the launching this blog back in June of 2007 that if we
really want to fight global warming, we must effect cultural changes in the
United States and around the world. Doing so is no easy task but it can be
achieved. One of the most important steps we can take is to explain to consumers
about the direct impact on the Earth of every product and service they buy and offer real alternatives. It is that last phrase which presents the
greatest challenge because the marketplace is so diverse with participants
entering and leaving almost every week.
For this reason, I am very enthusiastic about the Wildlife Friendly
certification program from the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. It does
exactly what we need. It exposes the flaws of existing products and services and
then offers alternatives. Now, given the strict standards which I set here on
Keyboard Culture for labeling anything as truly green, you may ask how I measure
the depth of green of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network’s program. It is
First, whereas other fair trade programs do a fine job of raising awareness of
environmental degradation in general, the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN)
uses the red list of key threatened species of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, a British academic body which
practices the highest standards of scientific work.
From there, the WFEN sets very specific criteria in its certification process
for products. Here’s a quick summary of requirements for certification:
• The product contributes directly to in situ conservation of key species.
Qualified products are fundamentally linked to on-the-ground conservation
• Production has a positive impact on the local economy.
• Individuals or communities living with wildlife participate in the production,
harvest, processing or manufacture of the product. Transparent, written criteria
define individual or community eligibility, conservation goals and monitoring
procedures. Signed agreements clearly define the responsibilities of individual
and/or community, NGO, business and other partners to each other and identify
the conditions under which any transfer of money, goods or services occurs.
• The product’s conservation mission includes a clear enforcement mechanism,
such that failure to follow through with required conservation actions results
in immediate consequences, including forfeiture of any economic reward.
• Producers and/or NGO, business and other partners strive to monitor the impact
of production activities on wildlife in order to ensure that practices benefit
species of concern.
• A product that contributes to or fosters consumptive use of wildlife in any
way will face a highly critical review for its ability to meet the criteria.
In closing, it may seem that the standards of the WFEN certification process are
excessive but this environmentalist assures you that they are right on the mark
and exemplary of the future of conservation and green living here in the new
To learn more about the Wildlife Friendly certification program from the WFEN,