Himalayan Bio Trade Ltd.

Himalayan Bio Trade Ltd. (HBTL) is a natural products processing and trading company owned by a consortium of community based forest enterprises of Nepal and has been promoting responsible business in natural products through a forest certification program in Nepal since 2003. One of HBTL’s main products is FSC certified handmade paper, which is crafted from Lokta bark (Daphne bholua) that is responsibly harvested from FSC certified Himalayan forests in Nepal. Rural indigenous communities who manage the forests have established an innovative model enterprise, Malika Handmade Paper Company in Bajhang, that uses traditional paper making methods combined with modern quality control practices. Sheets of handmade paper are transported from the paper enterprises to Himalayan Bio Trade P. Ltd. (HBTL) in Kathmandu where a wide range of paper products are custom dyed, printed and assembled to the buyer’s specifications. These Lokta paper products are the first in the world to be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and are harvested, produced, and marketed by community owned businesses that are FSC certified. A joint effort, facilitated by the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB), created a private-public partnership that markets Nepal’s unique natural products in international arenas. The partnership includes: ANSAB, Community Forest Users Groups (CFUGs), local forest products companies, Rainforest Alliance (RA) and AVEDA. ANSAB’s technical assistance, guidance, and its linking HBTL with the other partnership members has helped HBTL to ensure that it follows internationally recognized guidelines for socially responsible businesses. The partnership and the high level international standards that HBTL has met, has allowed the Sustainable Bio Trade Group (SBTG), in which HBTL is a group manager, to be awarded the Chain of Custody (CoC) certification with cert. no.: SW-COC-001465, accredited by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), for trading FSC certified non-timber forest products (NTFP) for the first time in Asia and handmade paper for the first time in the world. Promoting and marketing FSC certified handmade paper has greatly benefited marginalized community groups, helping them to fight poverty and improve their standard of living, while protecting Nepal’s unique biodiversity. Employment creation and income generating opportunities at a local level, where forest sustainability, social, and economical issues are a factor, are now closely monitored and product quality is controlled from harvest to finished product. These efforts are helping to create sustainable supply chains that will benefit these communities for years while giving the customer a high quality unique natural product. The result of years of coordinated effort in strengthening the capacity of community forest user groups and community-based forest enterprises to sustainably develop the forest products value chains is tremendous: in 2007 HBTL raked as the top 7th handmade paper exporter in Nepal and Aveda, a major US-based natural beauty products company who was impressed by the product and its environmentally responsible business practices, is featuring the certified handmade Nepali paper in their 2008 Christmas line. Visit HBTL website