Dow recently announced that Natura cosmetics brand – part of Natura & Co group, the fourth largest personal care company in the world – is the first commercial collaborator for Project Ybá: Conservation that Transforms, a strategic sustainability project for balancing commercial growth of a local community with environmental preservation in Breu Branco, Pará, deep in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest.
Launched in May 2021, Project Ybá is a Dow initiative in Brazil with an investment of R$1 million (~US$200,000) in collaboration with the Peabiru Institute and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). It aims to develop a local cooperative, which will sell the bioactive products from Dow’s preserved areas of the Amazon Rainforest and increase family incomes in the community while conserving the rainforest.
As the first commercial collaborator of Project Ybá, Natura will support the development of the local cooperative, which is intended to be formed with guidance from the Peabiru Institute, to structure the processes and technical capabilities needed to provide bioactives to the market through sustainable and regenerative management. Natura will also contribute with its expertise in the technical evaluation of the bioactives, which will be identified through the mapping of local biodiversity in Dow’s preserved native Amazon forests. Andiroba and Ucuuba seeds, for example, are among the bioactives already identified of interest to Natura. After evaluation and technical approval, the local cooperative will negotiate and sell the seeds directly to Natura, generating income for local residents and contributing to the social and economic development of the Breu Branco community.
“We’re proud to have Natura as our first commercial collaborator for Project Ybá. Natura’s technical expertise is essential, as their dissemination of knowledge about sustainable extraction of renewable bioactives, such as seeds and fruits, will help foster commercial growth and local economic development while preventing further deforestation of the rainforest,” said Eric Peeters, Global Director of Sustainability for Performance Materials & Coatings at Dow. “The collaboration with Natura reinforces our commitment to the environment, social equity, sustainable economic development, and to working with diverse partners and communities to help build a better, more prosperous world.”
Natura has been using Brazilian biodiversity assets from the Amazon Rainforest in its cosmetics for over 20 years. The company’s business model is to promote the region’s development through the union of science, traditional knowledge, and local entrepreneurship by valuing socio-biodiversity. Currently, Natura uses 38 bio-ingredients (including oils, butters, essential oils, extracts and derivatives) from the Amazonian biodiversity in the formulation of items for skin care, hair care and perfume.
“Natura has a historic commitment to sustainability, one of its pillars of action. In order to expand the impact of our business model, we believe it is essential to establish partnerships with other companies and organizations. With more than 20 years of presence in the Amazon, we have contributed to conserve two million hectares of standing forest, alongside partners and through relationships with 34 agro-extractivist communities in the region, covering more than 7,000 families,” explains João Moura, vice president of Supply Chain at Natura & Co.
By 2022, when the commercial cooperative is expected to be fully trained and organized, it is estimated that up ton150 local families could benefit from Project Ybá’s sustainable commerce. The initiative is an excellent example of Dow’s ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategy at work, proving that we can – in tandem – protect the environment, improve society and contribute to business growth.