“Brazil holds one of the richest biodiversities in the world. It has long been a source of innovation and inspiration for natural ingredients used in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Yet much remains to be explored: many companies have R&D centres in Brazil that are actively looking to discover new ingredients and applications for its flora,” says the Union for Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT), a non-profit association that promotes the ethical sourcing of ingredients that come from biodiversity. Moreover, Brazil is also quickly becoming a key market for natural products, with a population of over 200 million and a soaring awareness of biodiversity.
The new law  establishes the procedures that companies and other organizations will need to follow to work with Brazilian biodiversity. The new law repeals a measure adopted in 2001 on access and benefit sharing, widely criticized as too complex and bureaucratic.
For example, authorization to access biodiversity for research and development, until now granted by a national council , will not longer be required. Companies now only have to register on an online database. Benefit sharing, previously negotiated for each individual case, will now fall on the final product manufacturer, and take place primarily through a national trust fund.
President Rousseff described the new law as balancing legal certainty with fair and equitable benefit sharing. It will guarantee, she said, that companies can “without conflict, troubles or disputes” use the genetic heritage and associated traditional knowledge in Brazil. “Nevertheless,” explains the UEBT, “the law has also been criticized by indigenous peoples and local communities for not sufficiently protecting their rights and interests.”
Implications for suppliers discussed in Paris
The new legal framework in Brazil will have significant implications for suppliers, laboratories, manufacturers and brands working with Brazilian biodiversity. These implications will be one of the topics addressed during the “Beauty of Sourcing with Respect” conference, which brings together companies, experts and government representatives to discuss biodiversity. The conference, organized by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), will take place in Paris on 25 June 2015.