Natura Ekos: sustainable management and the preservation of a standing forest
Amazon Tree which was cut down to make brooms, survives, turning into a moisturizer
(originally published by Armando Pereira Filho/UOL)
Seed of the Amazon, ucuuba, used by Natura to manufacture moisturizers
The Ucuubeira "butter tree" is under the threat of extinction in the Amazon because it is used to make broom handles, door jambs, roof beams and wood charcoal (the wood is burned).
The Brazilian company, Natura, launched a new cosmetics line last year, helping to give greater economic value to the tree and preserve it from being cut down.
The company uses the tree’s fruit, ucuuba, whose seed is a source of a light butter with high moisturizing power. Thus, they can produce creams more efficiently: which moisturize quite effectively without leaving your skin greasy, according to Natura.
Residents earn three times more
The residents in the forest region of the interior of the state of Pará (near the rivers) cut down the trees to sell the timber to companies. With the Natura project, they are encouraged to keep the trees alive, harvesting only the fruits.
The company says that the residents earn three times more than they ever would selling the wood. Furthermore, the tree is kept standing and will continue to yield, for about ten years.
This is the ucuubeira, tree of ucuuba, which turns into moisturizers
Açaí berry and murumuru turn into perfume and shampoo
The Ekos line of Natura has existed for 16 years and uses the seeds and fruits of the Amazon, such as açaí, murumuru, andiroba, buriti, cumaru and the ucuuba.
Murumuru seeds and shampoo made with it
Employees travel hours on boats
These ingredients are harvested by riverside communities, who have to navigate boats for hours on rivers in the states of Pará and Amazonas to deliver their goods.
Residents of Pará use boats to bring their harvest of seeds and fruits
Harvesting of açaí yields up to R$3,000 per month
In the Amazon, Natura has 24 supplier communities, with approximately 2,000 families. Per the company, the monthly income of the river-dwelling families is around R$2,000 to R$ 3,000 during açaí season (the more highly prized product). This lasts for four months of the year. Then they must harvest other crops.
Man, climbing a tree to harvest açaí in Abaetetuba (PA)
Cooperative industrializes seeds, and earnings go up seven-fold
Selling only the seeds and fruits does not yield much money. That is why the workers cooperative of Abaetetuba (PA), Coofruta, with the support of Natura created a small industry to produce the oils and butter which are the raw material of the cosmetics.
According to Claudio Brito, director of Coofruta, with the industrialization, the income can increase seven-fold. A kilo of murumuru seeds (used for shampoos and conditioners) was around R$ 3.80 at the end of August. A kilo of murumuru butter was sold for $27.50 (the values fluctuate depending on the harvest).
Seeds of murumuru dry in an oven; they are worth seven times more after industrialization
Exploit the forest without killing it
Natura has a project to exploit the forest without tearing down the trees.
"The Amazon Program was launched in 2011 with the goal of keeping the forest standing, giving value to the production of seeds, oils and tree butter of the Amazon", says Renata Puchala, Sustainability Manager of Natura.
The project encourages scientific research to find out which seeds can turn into cosmetics, therefore, producing wealth.
The company’s proposal can be found in their " Vision Sustainability 2050", in which it defends that the brand helps to form ecological awareness by seeking innovative technologies with a positive impact on society. The project can be found in its entirety on the site www.natura.com.br/e/sustentabilidade
September 5th is Amazon Day
On September 5th Amazon Day is celebrated. The forest has approximately 5.5 million kilometers and covers nine countries. Only 26% of its territory within Brazil is protected (read more about the Amazon here).
One of the threats faced by the Amazon Rainforest is deforestation
(The journalist traveled at the invitation of Natura)