Exploitation of the Candelilla plant has been going on for more than a century without an integral plan for utilization of this resource. The precarious living conditions of the inhabitants of the region, as well as the lack of other economic activities which could contribute to improving their income levels, have caused the indiscriminate exploitation of the Candelilla plant. This brings with it the threat of the gradual extinction of this important natural resource.
On the other hand, the competition which prevails in the Candelilla wax industry has motivated companies to carry out investments in productive infrastructure in order to assure the supply of this important natural raw material. However, none of these investments have focused on the integral utilization of this resource through technological development and sustainable development programs, which could be efficiently put into practice. The problem which has existed for over a century remains unsolved.
Sustainable development means making nature the base of the productive chain, not only as a set of ecological norms which the economy must assimilate, but above all as the driving force which promotes the development of all the productive forces arising from the ecological, cultural and geographic conditions of each region.
Candelilla Institute is working toward this goal, supported by its technological associates and government agencies which are committed to the economic and social development of the Candelilla Region. The following projects for sustainable development have been defined as an essential part of the integral program being carried out by Candelilla Institute:
- Analysis of the Candelilla plant inventory, cultivation programs and efficient exploitation techniques, which will guarantee the survival and conservation of the Candelilla plant.
- Implementation of economic and social programs which will permit an improved lifestyle and living conditions of the inhabitants of the Candelilla Region.
The complexity of the problem must not be ignored. To achieve significant change in an industry which has remained unaltered for more than a century requires great effort and dedication. These are just the first steps toward creating a natural, technological and human competitive advantage in the Candelilla wax industry.