Centifolia 2011, the International Congress in Cosmetics and Perfumery, which will be held in Grasse from October 19 to 21, 2011, is an adventure open to all the stakeholders of the beauty industry (Executives, Sourcing Directors, R&D, Buyers, CSR, Production, Marketing, Communication, producers of ,…).
Any product carries and transmit a vision of the world, that which is inscribed in its gene and production. To buy a product (ingredient, service, finished product…), is to subscribe to this vision. To buy is to vote. Today, social media combined to mobility can celebrate or destroy a product and its brand, sometimes in a few days. Markets are becoming conscious.
So goes the rationale of the Centifolia 2011 Congress. A good programme, with the following premium speakers: Claudie Ravel, director and founder of Guayapi Tropical ; Gauthier Chapelle, co-founder of Biomimicry Europa ; Xavier Ormancey, Yves Rocher ; Guillaume Flavigny, Givaudan ; Francis Kurkdjian, parfumer ; Ngub Nding, director of Ephyla 3, specialist of traditional medicines ; Marie-Laure Simonin Brau, Dessange International ; Jean-François Noubel and Fernanda Ibarra of the Collective Intelligence Research Institute (organisers) ; a few others ; and I, founder of Soléco.
Several of those speakers will mention indigenous and local knowledge on biodiversity. I will focus on this issue under two angles: international law and business.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (1993) offers a framework, adopted by many countries, for commercial partnerships between indigenous and local communities (ILC) and companies, respecting the autonomy of the latter, and their right to valorise their knowledge. However, the principles of prior informed consent and benefit sharing are very general. As we have show in previous articles (currently in French only), any commercial partnership involving local species and traditional knowledge ignites a dialogue between two worlds, which are extremely different. Thus, it is necessary to study the practical experience of partnerships between ILC and companies, in order to make out of them learnings and best practices. This is what we will do, by putting in evidence the main issues of those commercial partnerships, and inciting companies to improve their action and innovate in their business models related to biotrade.
Here is the conference:
I hadn’t seen your comment. So, sorry not to have answered earlier. And thank you to all for being patient, as I’m waiting for the online publication of the video of my conference in Grasse. Our readers will be informed as soon as it is available.
Going back to your question. you raise crucial issue.
– On who represents the local population, this was an issue decades ago, it is a bit less now. Indigenous people have long been a silent population. Now they are usually organized and have their own representative organizations. So this is not an issue anymore: just invite the representatives they have chosen.
– Traditional lifestyles had impacts that were much less environmentally damaging then our own lifestyles! Think about our ecological footprint. Problems may have risen with demographics, and it is true that having a lesser life expectancy, they may want to raise their level of well-being.
The short answer is that these people may very well know better than anybody else where is their own interest, and the right balance between the conservation and improvement of their traditional lifestyles, and conducting some lucrative activities. These are not exclusive of each other.
I am very interested in hearing about the legal issues, especially IP, related to these ILC partnerships. Who represents the local population, so that they are not exploited? Do you have examples of commercial partnerships that respect the principles of sustainability, especially related to biodiversity?
Personally, I am torn between two non-exclusive possibilities:
– allowing indigenous populations to continue their traditional lifestyles, which may have negative environmental and human rights consequences, and often are associated with a lower “standard of living”
– encouraging indigenous populations to “upgrade” their standard of living, by allowing them material gains
Where is the middle line?