The old environmentalist aphorism, "Think globally, act locally" is important now more than ever. And increasingly, natural products industry members are getting the chance to act globally too. Opportunities abroad are growing at an exponential rate, so it's vital that industry members stay abreast of the trends, regulations and cultural differences they'll encounter while broadening their market. To address this, Natural Products Expo West is offering a series of three internationally focused seminars this year, each taking place on Thursday, March 13, the day before the show floor opens.
"If you're at all interested in expanding your business into foreign markets, and learning how to do so in a responsible fashion, these seminars are essential," says Dove Weissman, Expo West's program manager.
Learn how to avoid the sweatshops at the first seminar, "Global Commerce: Opportunities for Social Responsibility and Fair Trade," which will outline how industry members can expand their businesses without losing sight of the ideals that brought them to naturals in the first place. Speakers will include Anthony Marek, director of external communications and public relations for Berkeley, Calif.-based TransFair USA, a nonprofit fair trade labeling organization; and Priya Haji, CEO and co-founder of World of Good, a fair trade company empowering artisans around the world by bringing high-quality handcrafts to American consumers. Both speakers will have plenty of tips for keeping your conscience clean while doing business abroad. This seminar takes place from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in room 207B.
The second seminar, "Market Opportunities in Asia," focuses on the burgeoning Far Eastern naturals industry. Speakers will include Valerie Bell of Bell Alliances International, and Terry Yu, the general manager of Lo Hao City, one of China's largest natural products retailers. This seminar takes place from 2:45 to 4 p.m. in room 207B.
Jeff Crowther, director of the Natural Products Association's China office, will give attendees further nuts-and-bolts information on the Asian market in the final seminar, "Regulatory Requirements in Asia," which takes place from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. in room 207B. For more information, visit www.ExpoWest.com.
Tyler Wilcox is a Longmont, Colo.-based freelance writer.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 2/p. 16