Welcome Note from Executive Director

Eduardo Escobedo, RESP Executive Director

Geneva, August 7th

Dear Visitors, Friends and Supporters, 

The moment has come when the environmental degradation of our planet leaves us with no choice but action. 

For millennia, plant and animal life have brought enormous benefit to humans - from food and medicine to beauty and clothing products. Many businesses, including those that constitute the luxury goods industry, have profited from the wealth of earth’s rich biodiversity. But those benefits cannot last unless we change the way we do business. 

In January 2013, a selected group of committed companies and organisations teamed up to establish the Responsible Sourcing Ecosystems Platform (RESP). Since then, we have brought together major luxury companies, governments, NGOs and academic institutions, embarking on a journey to revolutionise the international trade system of fashion, cosmetics and jewellery industries, through the sustainable use of biodiversity. Success depends on achieving a harmonious combination of economic, social and cultural factors. 

By acting together, companies, governments and the civil society can not only minimise any potential harm from their industries but also create positive and lasting impacts.

RESP members are committed to use their expertise and experience to lead the way in creating state-of-the-art instruments, methodologies and technologies in order to shift world market systems towards more sustainable behaviours. This will also benefit international markets, which in the long-term will become more effective, transparent, secure and valuable to the consumer.

I am proud of what we have achieved so far. 

In just a few months since its creation, RESP has already received worldwide recognition. 

The Convention on Biological Diversity invited RESP to become one of only a handful of organisations not representing national initiatives to provide guidance to its Global Partnership of Business and Biodiversity. RESP is also a member of the European Business and Biodiversity Platform where I have had the honour of being appointed to the Platform’s Bureau as a high-level advisor.

As part of a broader legislation package, the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna has considered our proposals to tackle the illegal and unregulated flow of reptile skins, a highly profitable business. 

RESP has established concrete partnerships with the governments of Argentina, Cameroon, France, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Switzerland to develop and implement pilot projects in those countries to field test potential solutions that can be up-scaled and replicated to achieve systemic changes at the global level. 

But pressures are growing quickly and we must step up our efforts too. We expect five more countries to be added to this list by the end of 2014.

Since May this year, our Executive Committee has welcomed an impressive group of individuals who will guide the future of RESP, including representatives of the world’s biggest luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, the United Nations, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, universities and other academic institutions.

We now have an ambitious 2013-2018 Strategy Plan for the four International Working Groups that deal with reptile skins, wool fibres, natural ingredients and coloured gemstones. Each of these groups is working tirelessly to design and implement new methodologies to protect biodiversity while improving livelihoods and help companies to thrive.

We look forward to sharing more results with you in the very near future. Welcome to our website! 

Eduardo Escobedo, Executive Director