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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 and explained why its high standards deserve everyone’s support. The good deeds of 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 very simple.

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 actions.

• 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 millennium.

To learn more about the Wildlife Friendly certification program from the WFEN, please visit

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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