Nektium obtains Nagoya BioTrade permit for sustainable honeybush sourcing

Published: 31-May-2024

Nektium’s commitment to biodiversity and ethical sourcing secures first BioTrade permit for honeybush

Nektium has secured its first BioTrade permit in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol for the sustainable and ethical sourcing of honeybush from South Africa.

Honeybush (Cyclopia spp.) is a naturally sweet, caffeine-free tea from the highly biodiverse Cape Floral Kingdom in South Africa. It is rich in antioxidants and the health-promoting bioactive compound mangiferin and has been shown to demonstrate anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, and immunomodulatory properties.

Nektium has now secured a BioTrade permit from South Africa’s Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to source honeybush in line with the principles of the Nagoya Protocol. The international legal framework, which came into force in 2014, promotes biodiversity and sharing benefits with communities in the raw materials’ sourcing areas in a fair and equitable way.

With the permit in place, Nektium’s R&D team is now working to develop a honeybush ingredient with the potential for use across supplements, food, and beverages.

Adriana Regidor, Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Director at Nektium, said: “Sustainability is a key priority for Nektium. We had already integrated the Nagoya Protocol’s principles in our product development strategy to promote conservation, biodiversity, and fair trade. When we started exploring honeybush’s potential as a nutraceutical, we soon discovered that South Africa had the whole legal framework in place for the Protocol. We are delighted to have obtained our first BioTrade permit, which we believe is the first issued to an extract manufacturer for honeybush in South Africa.”

She added: “This important milestone demonstrates our strong commitment to sustained and sustainable sources of raw materials for our customers. They can rest assured that we will act responsibly, delivering secure supplies that align with their own environmental and social commitments.”

To secure the permit, it was essential to recognise and reward the traditional knowledge of relevant indigenous groups as determined by the South African Government. Spain-based Nektium therefore worked with South African distributor Parceval (Pty) Ltd to consult and negotiate with the San Council of South Africa and the National Khoisan Council. Parceval has already secured a number of BioTrade and Bioprospecting permits to supply natural resources from the country in a responsible and sustainable manner.

As a result of the negotiations, Nektium will share the profits from any honeybush ingredients with both councils and provide their members with internships at the company’s facilities on the island of Gran Canaria.

Nektium will also work with local raw material supplier Agulhas Honeybush Tea, which secured a permit demonstrating its compliance with the Nagoya Protocol in December 2023. The parties will cooperate to ensure sustainable cultivation that preserves wild honeybush stocks, encourages agricultural biodiversity, and promotes carbon sequestration.

Adriana Regidor said: “Securing the permit was a long journey, but Parceval helped guide us every step of the way. We were able to identify a raw material supplier that is committed to our values as well as the two local councils that represent the traditional knowledge holders. We’ve been able to establish a firm relationship built on trust with the San and Khoisan councils. The communities they represent have existed for thousands of years and we are hugely grateful for their depth of knowledge on sustainable honeybush use. In turn, the internship programme we are offering means they will be able to acquire new skills and knowledge. This will allow them to return home and uplift their own communities in a variety of ways.”

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