Voluntary Code of Conduct for Saint Lucia’s Ornamental Plant Sector (OPS VCoC)

Black Willow

Author: Saint Lucia Forestry Department, Summer Flowers, St. Lucia Floral Co-operative Society, The Garden Centre, Plants of Saint Lucia & Renew St Lucia

A workshop at the Forestry Department in September 2011 brought together public and private sector stakeholders who jointly developed a Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Ornamental Plant Sector (OPS VCoC) in order to tackle an overwhelming threat to our native biodiversity and associated livelihoods: invasive alien plants (weeds), which can overgrow and replace our native flora. In fact, invasive alien species (IAS) are estimated to costs nearly 5% of GDP in losses and control efforts – a figure rising in times of globalization and climate change.

Extrapolated to Saint Lucia, the annual cost of IAS is EC$244 million, or nearly EC$1,500 per capita per year! Of 55 invasive plants known to be present in Saint Lucia, over half (at least 28) were brought deliberately onto the island as ornamentals, some legally, others illegally. Given our limited resources for invasive plant management, the private and the public sectors need to partner. The VCoC will not replace laws and their enforcement, but it is one means of encouraging compliance and ethical business practices that, in the long run, are good for business too, because they build confidence in affiliated companies and professionals.

Saint Lucia wants to continue to be a unique tourist destination, known and appreciated for its local flora, fauna and culture – not replaceable by any other destination. Thus, the OPS VCoC is now also being presented to the tourism sector, for adoption or adaptation, in a continued drive for public-private co-ownership of IAS issues that affect us all. For more information, please read full document: Ornamental VCoC final (PDF)

For more information, please contact: Dr. Ulrike Krauss, Invasive Species Coordinator, Forestry Department, Tel.: 468 5646, E-mail: saintlucia.ias@gmail.com