September 20, 2013
A partnership between companies and institutions is driving the green economy in Pará
A multi-institutional alliance aims to develop the potential of sustainable business in the municipalities of Santarém and Juruti, in the west of the state, by strengthening the non-timber forestry, agricultural, hunting and gathering product chains
On October 1, as part of the program schedule of the Annual Meeting of the Sustainable Amazon Forum, a new initiative will be announced, whose aim is to contribute to the development of the green economy in Pará: the Tapajós Alliance. This is a multi-institutional cooperation protocol aimed at strengthening non-timber forest production chains, where initiatives already exist, agricultural, hunting and gathering settlements, and sustainable use conservation units. The protocol is a partnership between Natura, Alcoa, the Sustainable Juruti Fund (Funjus), the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio) and the Health and Happiness Project.
The initiative will focus on the municipalities of Juruti and surrounding areas and Santarém (Tapajós-Arapiuns Hunting and Gathering Reserve [RESEX], and the Lago Grande Agricultural, Hunting and Gathering Settlement Project [PAE], and their surrounding areas), both located in the west of Pará. Initially, there will be an assessment of the potential of the already existing production chains, as well as technical and economic studies for promoting sustainable businesses from products that leave the forest standing. Partners like Funjus and PSA will develop and qualify sustainable chains for operating in the market, and provide them with support for preparing the development projects of these chains with the communities.
In its turn, Natura, based on its 13-year experience of developing cooperatives in the Amazon, is going to provide the guidelines, technical information and applied knowledge that are necessary for developing leaders and a cooperative culture. This will ensure that these chains achieve, among other things, high quality standards, traceability, good management and cultivation practices and add value. Part of the financial resources for the development of activities will come from Alcoa and Funbio (within the scope of Probio), and another part from Health and Happiness Project partnerships. The cooperatives involved may be able to sell their products to Natura and the market, which will provide an outlet for local production. The protocol will be valid for two years.
To form the Tapajós Alliance, its members brought together their experience of the activities they are already involved with in the Amazon region. Since 2011, for example, Natura has had an Amazon Program, an initiative that brings together actions aimed at strengthening local production chains. “We’ve done a lot of hard work with the supplying communities from other regions in Pará and Amazônia, to guarantee production quality and to strengthen communities and associations by providing training on management and cultivation practices, and on leadership and cooperative development. We expect the work in the Tapajós region will also lead to excellent results for all the companies, entities and communities involved”, emphasizes the company’s sustainability manager, Renata Puchala.
Alcoa, on the other hand, whose bauxite mining operation in Juruti (PA) has just completed four years, is betting that innovation in partnerships like this one will make a contribution to those municipalities in which it has operations. “We believe that it’s perfectly possible to reconcile development and sustainability. Since we started building our unit in Juruti, we’ve tried to operate in a special way in the Amazon, with a focus on listening and dialogue, in order to understand the real needs of the communities and to define our action priorities jointly. This innovative partnership, with the participation of different social players and companies, has made a lot of progress in terms of this way of operating”, explains Fabio Abdala, Sustainability Manager for Alcoa Latin America & the Caribbean.
Alcoa and Funbio will support and boost the Sustainable Juruti Fund (Funjus), which invests in actions in Juruti and surrounding areas. Some of the funds from Funjus in this alliance come from the National Project for Public-Private Integrated Actions for Biodiversity – Probio II, which aims to mobilize production sectors by investing in production chains that adopt conservation practices and use biodiversity in a sustainable way in their business. “Sustainable development in the Amazon demands new instruments and arrangements, in which the private sector and the third sector have a fundamental role to play.
Funbio and Alcoa have already been working together for four years in Juruti, and they’ve achieved results that prove the importance of private financial instruments for accelerating this process. On the other hand, an alliance between companies that have common objectives, like Natura and Alcoa, is the missing link that was needed for moving ahead in a way that complements the development of public policies for the region”, points out Manoel Serrão, the coordinator of Funbio’s financial mechanisms unit.
In addition to financing the activities of the Tapajós Alliance, the Sustainable Juruti Fund also brings to the pact its background of uniting different players around local development, as Gustavo Hamoy, a board director of the entity relates: “Funjus is supported on a tripod of local government, the businesspeople who are active in the region and organized civil society. We’re delighted to be part of this pact, which is supported by Funbio, and to contribute with actions aimed at boosting the growth of our region”.
Operating strongly in Santarém, the Health and Happiness Project will also bring to the Alliance its analysis of local scenarios and states of affair. In this sense the entity produces participative diagnoses that help the communities themselves monitor results and their joint action planning, offering instruments for supporting the population in managing their own development. "The initiative will be an important opportunity for developing production chains in a sustainable way in the Tapajós-Arapiuns RESEX, with the qualification of technical assistance and community production. This will have an impact on the income of farmers, both because of selling directly without middlemen, as well as because of selling with high added value, given the prospects that exist for the on-site beneficiation of agricultural, hunting and gathering products", emphasizes Caetano Scannavino Filho, coordinator of the Health and Happiness Project.
There will be joint governance of the activities, which will rely on all members of the Tapajós Alliance actively participating in four-monthly meetings, when work plans will be developed and actions monitored. These meetings will also look at the direction and paths to be followed by projects that are in the planning stage or those already ongoing.
About the members of the Tapajós Alliance:
- Since 2006 Alcoa has been helping the sustainable development of Juruti and the surrounding area in the Tapajós River region, by supporting the sustainability tripod, which comprises the Sustainable Juruti Council, the Sustainable Juruti Fund and the Juruti Indicators; this is an innovative model for a mining business.
- Probio (National Project of Public-Private Integrated Actions for Biodiversity - Probio II), a program within the scope of FUNBIO, is one of the founding members of FUNJUS, which aims to implement strategies for including biodiversity in the economy. Its main objective is to mobilize production sectors through investment in the development of production chains that adopt conservation practices and use biodiversity in a sustainable way in their businesses.
- Funjus (Sustainable Juruti Fund) is a voluntary, private financial mechanism that is one of the legs of the Sustainable Juruti tripod, which relies on funds in portfolio for financing projects directed at the development of non-timber forest production chains in Juruti and the surrounding area.
- Natura is looking to build an environment that is favorable to the development of sustainable business in the Amazon region, by strengthening the bases of a “standing forest economy”. It is doing this by way of its Amazon Program, based on science, technology, innovation, production chains and the strengthening of institutions. Among its priority territories of operation is the so-called “Xingu-Tapajós” area (comprising the municipalities of Santarém, Mojuí dos Campos, Altamira, Anapu, Brasil Novo, Medicilândia, Pacajá, Uruará and Vitória do Xingu).
- Among its various actions for supporting integrated development in the western Para region, the Health and Happiness Project has been implementing a territorial management community model by way of demonstrative actions in the Tapajós-Arapiuns RESEX and surrounding area. This is helping avoid deforestation and the respective greenhouse gas emissions, while fixing carbon. The initiative is based on the gradual transition from the traditional agricultural activity of slashing and burning to adapted and sustainable agro-ecological practices. It is also promoting food safety and alternative ways of generating income.
Alcoa Alumínio S.A. is a subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. which is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. The company employs approximately 61,000 people in 31 countries and for the twelfth consecutive year the company is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Alcoa is present in Latin America and the Caribbean where it has operations in Brazil, Jamaica and Suriname and about 7,000 employees. This year, the company completes 125 years of operations in the world.
In Brazil the company operates in the whole of the aluminum production chain, from bauxite mining to the production of transformed products. Alcoa has six production units and three offices in the states of Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Pará, Pernambuco, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and the Federal District. The company also has shareholdings in four hydroelectric power stations: Machadinho and Barra Grande on the border of the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul; Serra do Facão in Goiás; and Estreito, between Maranhão and Tocantins. In 2012, Alcoa recorded revenues of R$ 2,6 billion in Brazil. In the same year it was considered a benchmark in sustainability, being one of the year’s 21 model companies in the Guia EXAME de Sustentabilidade [EXAME Magazine’s Sustainability Guide]. In 2013, it was recognized for the twelfth time as one of the Best Companies to Work and for the second consecutive year the Best Company for Women to Work in Brazil, by the Great Place to Work Institute. Further information can be found at www.alcoa.com.br and follow @Alcoa on Twitter at twitter.com/AlcoaBrasil and follow Alcoa on Facebook at facebook.com/AlcoaBrasil.