Collaborating around shared commitments to empower Amazon communities

hands holding freshly washed cherries

This initiative is an excellent example of our ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategy at work, proving that we can – in tandem – protect the environment, improve society and contribute to business growth.

How do we transform challenges into opportunities, redefine what’s possible and help create a more sustainable world at the same time? It takes collaboration, teamwork and shared values. At Dow, we are committed to delivering a sustainable future for the world through our expertise in materials science and in collaboration with partners.

Today, I’m excited to share the latest development of our collaboration with NGOs and companies that exhibit shared values with Dow and are committed to generating positive social and economic impact together.

Contributing to social development and Amazon Forest conservation

In Breu Branco, Pará, deep in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest, Dow owns a total of 45K hectares of land, 80% (38K hectares) of which is preserved native rainforest. This is approximately half of the size of New York City, or the equivalent of ~63,000 soccer fields. We estimate that the land we own is home to around 470 species of animals and plants, 37 of which are endangered. Dow directly protects the native rainforest along with its biodiversity, while contributing to the social development of the community and bringing benefits to ~4,000 people living near Dow’s Breu Branco site for over 20 years.

In May this year, we launched a strategic sustainability initiative in Breu Branco – Project Ybá: Conservation that Transforms – in collaboration with the Peabiru Institute and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Ybá, in the local dialect of the Tupi Guarani language, means tree or fruit. Using the indigenous dialect in our project’s name, we seek to value our land, exalting a country that has a unique opportunity to demonstrate the value of protecting the environment, while contributing to business and community growth. Project Ybá is aimed to develop a local cooperative, which will sell the bioactive products from Dow’s preserved areas of the Amazon Rainforest, and to increase family incomes in the community while conserving the rainforest.

Supported by Dow, the Peabiru Institute NGO is mapping the local biodiversity in Dow’s preserved areas and in the process of developing and training a local cooperative to harvest and sell bioactives, such as seeds and fruits. TNC, a longtime NGO partner of Dow, will contribute by measuring ecosystem services – such as temperature regulation and water preservation – that benefit the community through Dow’s preserved areas.

Natura to be our first commercial collaborator for Project Ybá in Brazil

Today our collaboration has grown further and will benefit all involved in the project. We’ve brought onboard our first commercial collaborator for Project Ybá; Brazil-based Natura cosmetics brand, part of Natura & Co. group – the fourth largest personal care company in the world.

Natura has over 20 years of experience in sustainable extraction of Brazilian biodiversity assets from the Amazon Forest for use in their cosmetics. Their technical expertise is essential to the success of Project Ybá. They will support the development of the local cooperative 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. 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 business model is to promote the region’s development through the union of science, traditional knowledge and local entrepreneurship by valuing socio-biodiversity. They have a historic commitment to sustainability as one of its pillars of action which aligns well with Dow’s sustainability goals.

Together, for a more sustainable world

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

By 2022, when the commercial cooperative is expected to be fully trained and organized, it is estimated that up to 150 local families could benefit from Project Ybá’s sustainable commerce. This initiative is an excellent example of our ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategy at work, proving that we can – in tandem – protect the environment, improve society and contribute to business growth.

Our collaboration with Natura, the Peabiru Institute and TNC reinforces Dow’s commitment to the environment, social equity, sustainable economic development and to working with diverse partners and communities to help build a better, more prosperous and sustainable world.

I can’t wait to see what we can achieve in shaping a sustainable future together through collaboration.

Mauro Gregorio, President, Performance Materials & Coatings