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Revision of the UEBT Ethical BioTrade Standard 2019-2020

UEBT sets good practices for how companies and their suppliers source natural ingredients with respect for people and biodiversity. UEBT’s Ethical BioTrade Standard is used to independently check that such good practices are systematically applied.

The UEBT Standard guides commitments of UEBT members, is used for the UEBT ingredient and sourcing system certifications, the UEBT/UTZ herbal tea and vanilla programs, as well as in the Herbs and Spices Program that UEBT and Rainforest Alliance are currently developing.

Summary of the consultation

Following good practice in standard-setting,* we revise the UEBT Standard every five years through a participatory process including two public consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including companies, affected local and indigenous communities, NGOs, governments and academia.

Our first consultation ended in late 2018 (see report). We received more than 200 comments** from 80+ organisations and incorporated these into a new draft for the second public consultation.

Our second consultation ended on 31 August 2019 and more than 130 people commented during this period, representing approximately 60 organisations.

What issues are being addressed by the revision

Comments from stakeholders are varied, but some of the top issues being discussed through the consultation have been:

  • wild harvesting

  • use of agrochemicals

  • social aspects, including working hours

How did stakeholders participate?

UEBT offered many ways for people to comment on the Standard during the second consultation including:

  • Direct emails to stakeholders

  • Calls for comments via LinkedIn and our Web site’s home page

  • A UEBT email address for comments

  • An online comment form

  • Consultation workshops held in The Netherlands, Madagascar, Brazil, Vietnam, Myanmar, South Africa and India.

What are the next steps

  • We are addressing all comments received and will draft a second revised version of the Standard to be presented to the UEBT Standards and Assurance Committee

  • The Standards and Assurance Committee will review the process. We then expect to issue the new version of the Standard in January 2020. There will be a short 20-day comment period at that time. We then intend to publish the new Standard on the UEBT web site in early 2020.

  • There will be a 12-month transition process to the new Standard for UEBT members and we aim to make the transition as smooth as possible.

What is the governance of the Standard revision process?

( If you have any input on this process please let us know via the email address below and they will be considered appropriately.)


Please email us at

*UEBT is a full member of the ISEAL Alliance and follows its Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards.

** This report is a brief synopsis of comments received in the 1st consultation phase and main changes made to the Ethical BioTrade standard. A report on the second phase will be made available shortly.

A wide range of stakeholders – companies, communities, civil society – contributed in 2011 and again in 2017 to the development of the UEBT Ethical BioTrade Standard, which is based on the BioTrade principles. In 2020 we will publish a newly revised Standard.