Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

Gurung Tea Partners with ANSAB & WFEN to Protect Iconic Snow Leopards & Red Pandas in Nepal

Hong Kong based social enterprise tea brand sources artisan made sustainable packaging to support wildlife conservation, forest protection and poverty alleviation in Nepal


Hong Kong (August 12 2019) — Tiffany Soong and Manching Lee were on a spiritual trip together in Nepal when they discovered the work of the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB), a Nepalese nonprofit that addresses poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation by providing assistance to community members to gain resource tenure. The result was Gurung Tea, a social enterprise founded by the two women in 2012 around the idea that a sustainably produced product line could help alleviate poverty.  The artisan paper produced by Himalayan Bio Trade Ltd. (HBTL), a natural products processing and trading company owned by a consortium of community based forest enterprises of Nepal, is made using ancient techniques. Sourced for product packaging by Gurung Tea, this paper is Certified Wildlife Friendly™ by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), providing a market incentive for the protection of endangered and iconic wildlife such as the snow leopard, the red panda and the Himalayan yak.  “Connecting local farmers to a wider market and helping contribute to a sustainable income for the same local communities who hold the future of wildlife and forests in their hands is what makes this partnership a model for Wildlife Friendly™ enterprise” said Julie Stein, Executive Director and cofounder of WFEN. 

Nepali handmade paper is well known for it’s unique strength, softness and durability. Handmade paper has been produced in traditional ways in the hill districts of Nepal since the twelfth century. Known for it’s long lasting qualities this special paper was used for official state documents and still today legal documents in Nepal are prepared with handmade papers which are compatible with modern printing technology. In addition to being Certified Wildlife Friendly™, HBTL’s paper is crafted from Lokta (Daphne bholua/D. papyracea) and Argeli barks (Edgeworthia gardneri) that is responsibly harvested from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified Himalayan forests by rural indigenous communities.  HBTL products are also Cradle-to-Cradle and Organic certified.

HBTL is a joint effort facilitated by ANSAB creating a private-public partnership that markets Nepal’s unique natural products to national and international markets. HBTL is a consortium of community-based enterprises that specialize in natural and sustainably sourced non-timber forest products (NTFP’s) such as essential oils, handmade paper, and medicinal and aromatic plants. Since its establishment, HBTL has provided a marketing platform for community-based natural products with the goal of linking communities to high-value markets creating benefits for the indigenous, smallholder farmers of the remote Himalayan forests. HBTL’s mission is to support the creation of quality products from sustainable forest resources in Nepal and to provide income and employment benefits to forest communities.

For wholesalers, retailers and consumers interested in purchasing the Gurung Tea please contact:  Tiffany Soong via Tiffany.soong@gurungtea.com


About Gurung Tea

Gurung tea collection offers a range of the finest quality, exclusive tea blends directly from the Himalayas.  All our teas are organic and non-caffeinated. The practice of producing this tea involves integrating plants specific to the Himalayan area including Turmeric, Guduchi, and Tulsi which not only contribute to its flavor composition but also offers a range of health benefits. 

The team takes pride in operating on principles of fair trade with a strong emphasis on socially responsible practices.  Gurung Tea strongly believes that business can make difference in lives of those it works with. Each purchase of our product positively impacts on a farmers’ life and the community to which they belong.   Gurung tea embodies the idea of empowerment, sustainability, shared prosperity and community. 

About HBTL

Himalayan Bio Trade Pvt. Ltd (HBTL) established in 2000, is a natural product manufacturing and marketing company based in Kathmandu. About 25% of HBTL’s shareholders are community enterprises that supply the processed and semi-processed products to HBTL. HBTL’s mission is to support the creation of quality products from sustainable forest resources in Nepal and to provide income and employment benefits to forest dependent community groups. HBTL and its community enterprises consortium have also received FSC, Organic, For Life and Wildlife Friendly™ certifications for handmade paper products, essential oils, vegetable oil and raw herbs.

HBTL’s founding mission was to use underutilized, sustainable forest resources to provide incomes for community forest user groups. Indigenous, smallholder farmers occupy Nepal’s Himalayan forest communities in remote and rural areas, and HBTL’s goal is to link these communities produce with high value international markets.


ANSAB is a civil society organization that has been conserving biodiversity and improving livelihoods across South Asia for twenty-five years. It places community empowerment and economic incentives at the heart of its approach, and generates knowledge and results through applied research and studies to implement innovative solutions, such as the creation of enterprises based on the sustainable use of natural resources, establishment of payment for environmental services, and advancement of ecosystem based commercial agriculture. It has a focal position in the field through its work in ecological, technological, economic and socio-cultural fronts associated to people-centered conservation, management and use of biodiversity, especially non-timber forest products (NTFPs), high value agricultural commodities, biomass-based energy and ecosystem services. ANSAB has been continuously evolving, consolidating, institutionalizing and advancing the approaches and strategies for the promotion of community-based enterprises and value chains, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, enabling policy environment and multi-stakeholders collaboration. In Nepal, ANSAB’s programs generated annual monetary benefits of US $9.24 million to over 85,394 economic participants in 2018. A total of 1,319 economic entities involved in the collection, value addition and trading of agriculture and forest products both at the national and international levels were developed and strengthened. Our interventions brought 129,200 hectares of forest and meadow areas under the improved community management of 672 forest-user-groups, representing 99,900 households.

About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

WFEN and its certification programs represent grassroots farmers, ranchers, herders, artisans, indigenous peoples and conservation heroes from around the world including two World Bank Development Marketplace Award winners, a U.N. Equator Prize winner, leadership in the world’s marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets, and a Time Hero for the Planet. Wildlife Friendly® products contribute to the conservation of over twelve million hectares of diverse wetlands, forests, and grasslands; protect keystone endangered speciesinAsia, Africa, Europe, and Latin and North America, including the Snow Leopard, Elephant, Tiger, Cheetah, Red Panda, and Wolf; and benefit over 200,000 people through increased food security, income and employment. 

For more information contact:

Gurung Tea: Tiffany:  tiffany.soong@gurungtea.com

Visit: www.gurungtea.com

IG: @gurungtea

Wildlife Friendly: Julie Stein: Julie@wildlifefriendly.org

Visit: www.wildlifefriendly.org

IG: @wildlifefriendly

Twitter: @wfen

HBTL: Khilendra Gurung: hbtlp@himalayanbiotrade.com

Visit:  www.himalayanbiotrade.com

ANSAB:  Dr. Bhishma P. Subedi: bhishmasubedi@ansab.org

Visit: www.ansab.org

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Aveda Becomes the First Global Beauty Brand to Join the Wildlife Friendly® Enterprise Ntwork Supporting People and Planet


NEW YORK – 18 DEC 2015 – Aveda, whose mission is to care for the world we live in, and the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), a global community dedicated to supporting products that conserve threatened wildlife and contribute to economic vitality in rural landscapes, are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership dedicated to protecting wildlife while supporting local communities.

Beginning in 2002, Aveda has sourced handcrafted lokta bark paper from Himalayan Bio-Trade Pvt. Ltd (HBTL), an organization in Nepal, owned by a consortium of community-based groups, for their holiday and year-round gifting boxes. Aveda’s purchase of lokta paper from Nepal helps support this local industry, which creates local employment to help keep families together. It also helps reverse local deforestation in the region — in 2009, the lokta paper earned Wildlife Friendly® certification which helps to protect 42,000 acres of forest, maintaining critical wildlife corridors for 21 iconic endangered species, including the grey wolf, snow leopard, red panda and wild yak.

“Fueled by a common passion for protecting wildlife, our partnership with Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network is an example of Aveda’s efforts to make a meaningful commitment to action in service to the Earth,” says Dominique Conseil, President, Aveda. “A sustainable Earth demands that we care deeply about our collective future. For Aveda, we are proud to be a member of WFEN and support the protection of wildlife habitat.”

“The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) knows that consumers care about protecting endangered species and providing sustainable livelihoods for communities that co-exist with wildlife. We are therefore thrilled to welcome Aveda as the first global beauty brand to become a WFEN Founding Corporate Member. Aveda has been a true industry leader in responsible ingredient sourcing that helps support local communities. Aveda’s sourcing of Wildlife Friendly® certified products is a model for the beauty industry” said Ann Koontz, WFEN co-founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors.

WFEN Founding Corporate Network Members share the WFEN vision for a world where people and wildlife not only coexist but thrive and are committed to sourcing and creating beautiful products that are made in a manner that respect the producers, land, and wildlife. WFEN membership is open to businesses who are committed to the WFEN mission and who actively contribute to Wildlife Friendly® business practices. This contribution may be through building Wildlife Friendly® supply chains, production, sourcing and selling Certified Wildlife Friendly® products, building increased awareness and demand with consumers, and implementing best practices for biodiversity conservation and business.


About Aveda

Founded in 1978 in Minneapolis, MN, Aveda creates high performance, plant-based products for beauty professionals and consumers. Aveda innovates in botanical technologies, combining the principles of modern science and Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, to develop performance-driven hair, skin and body products—made with pure flower and plant essences—that are created with respect for the Earth, and a comprehensive menu of ritual-based treatments for holistic beauty.

Throughout the years, Aveda has pioneered new benchmarks of environmental responsibility in beauty.  It was the first company to sign the Ceres Principles in 1989 – a nonprofit organization mobilizing business leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other sustainability challenges – and the first beauty company to manufacture with 100 percent wind power in its primary facility[1]. Aveda was also the first beauty company to receive a Cradle To Cradle charter for its commitment to sustainable products, packaging and production. In 2013, Aveda was honored with the first Legacy Leaders Award from Cradle to Cradle for its pioneering role in environmental leadership. Currently 11 products are Cradle To Cradle Certified™.  Since 1999, Aveda’s annual Earth Month campaign, held each April, has raised more than $44 million to support environmental projects around the world.

Aveda is trusted by salon and spa professionals worldwide. Since 2007, more than half of the fastest growing salons in the U.S. have been part of the Aveda network[2]. Aveda products are available in Aveda Experience Centers and more than 9,000 professional hair salons and spas in more than 30 countries and at www.aveda.com. Go behind-the-scenes at Aveda on the blog at www.livingaveda.com. 

About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

WFEN and its Certified Wildlife Friendly® and Predator Friendly® certification programs represent grassroots farmers, ranchers, artisans, indigenous communities and conservation heroes from around the world including two World Bank Development Marketplace Award winners, a U.N. Equator Prize winner, leadership in the world’s marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets, a Time Hero for the Planet, and a National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee. Certified Wildlife Friendly® products contribute to the conservation of over twelve million hectares of diverse wetlands, forests, and grasslands; protect keystone endangered species in Asia, Africa, and Latin and North America, including the Snow Leopard, Elephant, Cheetah, Spectacled Bear, and Wolf; and benefit over 200,000 people through increased food security, income and employment. For more information visit: www.wildlifefriendly.org


Wildlife Friendly

Julie Stein: Julie@wildlifefriendly.org

Aveda Global Communications

Amy Maloney: amaloney@aveda.com


[1] The wind power goes into the utility grid from which we purchase electrical power and our use of natural gas power is offset with wind energy credits. For more, go to aveda.com.

[2] 2013 Salon Today 200 – Honoring Salon Growth and Best Business Practices