Traditional communities play an essential role in the development of the Amazon

Study developed by CEBDS, in partnership with Idesam, shows how important it is for residents to get involved in business in the forest

Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the sustainable development of the Amazon requires actions that take into account the local reality and count on the participation of traditional communities. 

The “Study of Good Business Practices in the Amazon”, which has just been completed by the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS) in partnership with the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon (Idesam), lists several examples from which the fundamental role that native peoples play in the relationship with the private sector. 

One of them, developed by Amazon, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the International Center for Agroforestry Research (ICRAF), aims to remove 9.6 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere in 30 years, in addition to benefiting 3,000 families and one total area of 18 thousand hectares. The essence of the plan is to accelerate the recovery of degraded or unproductive areas via agroforestry systems. The result generates, in practice, a win-win. On the one hand, carbon credits are generated and, on the other, the income of farmers who grow cocoa and açaí is boosted.

What if the focus shifts from the finished product to the raw material? In this case, the initiative led by a group that includes Michelin, WWF-France, WWF-Brazil, Memorial Chico Mendes and Fundação Michelin is a good example. The project developed by these partners in the state of Amazonas has already started with the purchase of 7 tons of rubber, in a symbolic way, to strengthen the relationship of trust with local producers. The main objective, however, in the coming years, is to purchase 700 tons, which would benefit 3,800 families directly and indirectly.

In Pará, more specifically in Tapajós, Baixo Tocantins and Médio Juruá, the main objective of a program that brings together several partners, including Natura, Conexus, Projeto Saúde e Alegria and Sebrae, is to contribute to strengthening the forest in foot. In addition to stimulating entrepreneurship and territorial development. Among the main impacts of the idea is investment in more than 20 local socio-biodiversity chains. Which should benefit more than 2 thousand families and involve 13 cooperatives in the regions.

Improving the quality of life of local producers is also the objective of a program developed by Suzano in Pará, Maranhão and Tocantins. In terms of products promoted by the initiative, which focuses on management, production and marketing, there are several fronts. For example: mesocarp flour, babassu oil, açaí pulp, charcoal, almonds and crafts. Special attention is given to the Hives Program, which aims to encourage honey production within the company's planting areas.

Partner producers receive technical and management assistance and training, as well as help in implementing new technologies and assistance in marketing the honey produced. Among all the activities promoted, the expectation is that income of up to R$ 9.5 million will be generated in three years. Suzano estimates that 9 thousand people were lifted out of poverty by the group's social investment in its areas of activity in 2021.

Connectivity and energy, in addition to general infrastructure, such as access to water and basic sanitation, are also vital for many communities in the Amazon. That’s why the case of Vila Restauração is also interesting. 

Through a group formed by several companies – Energisa, (re)energisa, Aneel, TIM and Conexa Saúde) -, the community in the interior of Acre, more than 500 km from the capital Rio Branco, now has energy supply 24 hours a day. Before the project, the 200 families in the region had electricity for just three hours a day. The residents spent two years as beneficiaries of the project, before becoming customers of the energy companies.

The motivation behind the Ybá Project, another example in which local communities are involved, is to generate development by expanding the socio-environmental uses of Dow's forest area in Breu Branco, Pará. The idea is to promote income generation from extractivism of bioactives of commercial interest. 

A mapping carried out for the region by the Peabiru Institute identified 17 plant species in the area of commercial interest for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry – which can be extracted by community members from the company's land and sold. The production of the first product under exploration, andiroba, will be purchased by Natura, also a partner in the program. The initiative is expected to benefit 150 families, who will, in a few years, have a structured cooperative to continue selling production lines on their own.

 

Find out more about the study

O “Study of Good Business Practices in the Amazon” was carried out by CEBDS (Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development) in partnership with Idesam. The publication analyzed 143 initiatives developed by CEBDS members in the Amazon and detailed 11 projects that combine production and preservation. The actions involve more than 30 partners in the Legal Amazon and directly benefit 50 thousand people.

The unprecedented work is part of the Business Movement for the Amazon, an initiative led by CEBDS that aims to build an effective agenda in defense of sustainable development, the creation of jobs and income with the forest standing and the reduction of deforestation.

Check out the study in full and learn about good examples from the business sector here: https://cebds.org/publicacoes/estudo-de-boas-praticas-empresariais-na-amazonia/.

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