The first RESP Global Meeting was held at Burberry HQ in London on the 13th and 14th of April. Two years of commitment and collaborative action to define common goals and the steps needed to achieve them, has led to concrete results for RESP and its diverse multi-stakeholder members who include leaders from the cosmetics, fashion and jewellery industries and their key stakeholders.
“High profile brands are in one of the best positions to take a leadership position that will have a very significant positive impact in the field of sustainability and biodiversity” - Jo Dawson, CEO of H. Dawson Wool
Some highlights included the validation of the proof of concept that confirmed its ability to uniquely identify at least 7 million skins from any reptile species from the moment they enter the value chain up to the final product – a groundbreaking feat which brings the traceability of reptile skins to new heights thought impossible by many only a couple of years ago. Similar results were announced on another traceability project where successful initial tests confirmed the feasibility of achieving full traceability of wool fibres at the batch level from scouring to the final products, marking a new benchmark for the industry.
Based on these findings, RESP put forward clear plans for pilot field tests under real-life conditions starting with Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, Argentina and Australia. These pilots will harness cutting edge technology to address the present lack of traceability within supply chains, with the aim of promoting legality, conserving nature and strengthening brand authority as well as meeting consumers increasing demands.
"We retain that traceability is crucial in ensuring real sustainable use of resources and compliance with national and international legislation on CITES, by providing real data which can help reduce administrative controls and the risk of illegal activities” – Luisa Corbetta, CITES Enforcement Authority of Italy.
The group validated a set of impact indicators and a measurement method that should provide new tangible and quantifiable scientific knowledge regarding the impacts of productive activities at the ecosystem level where it is estimated that close to 80% of the environmental impacts of the supply chain happen. The first field tests will be undertaken in Argentina and Australia focusing on the wool industry, with plans to improve the assessment method to be further tested on cultivation and wild collection of natural ingredients for cosmetics and on small scale mining activities of coloured gemstones in the coming months.
Production Systems also figured prominently in the discussion. An international process to identify the prevailing sustainability issues for the coloured gemstones industry in Sri Lanka, Mozambique and Myanmar was launched. A global study to assess the main issues and identify best practices for animal welfare in reptile production was also launched, together with new research to elaborate best practice guidelines for reptile farming, ranching and hunting and for land management in wool production.
“Our planet’s greatest challenges call for collective action, there is no way around it. RESP is a reflection of this” - Eduardo Escobedo, Executive Director RESP
The meeting also took stock of current work on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) metrics in order to respond to questions with robust evidence and valid business cases. Going forward, RESP expects to make an important contribution towards putting NCA on a par with financial accounting to arrive at sustainable propositions for key decision makers; transforming the way the economic and policy systems operate through understanding and incorporating impacts and dependencies on natural capital in parallel with initiatives such as the Natural Capital Protocol.
On a broader front, RESP continues to contribute to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity by taking concrete steps towards the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets while gearing it’s work plan to support international efforts under the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are expected to be agreed at the UN General Assembly this September.