History of the Union

The idea behind forming the Union was born out of the need expressed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries for ways to differentiate BioTrade products in the market.

It stems from efforts initiated by the BioTrade Initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which was created to contribute to international efforts to promote sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

It responds to the recognition by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that additional efforts were needed to reach out to the private sector. The CBD recognizes the strong link between business and biodiversity, as well as the dependency of industry on biodiversity. UEBT responds to the decisions that CBD parties have taken regarding private sector engagement and the  use of standards in this.

Developing country partners have been driving the development of the UEBT, a process that UNCTAD has keenly supported. Subsequently, the Union for Ethical BioTrade was conceptualized.

On 8 May 2007, a year after the idea was born, a meeting of the founding members took place and the articles of association were approved.