The socio-biodiversity program was created by Beraca in 2000. It covers the Personal Care sector, the biodiversity natural products of the food ingredients, animal nutrition and health sectors. The program purchases inputs – fruits and seeds used in the final products – from communities whose economic activity is based on the extraction industry. The program’s business model, therefore, turns communities into raw materials suppliers, resulting in several benefits for Beraca, such as better quality products, organic certifications, assurance that its extraction is considering forest sustainability and price stability through pre-agreed prices. The program is coordinated by the HPC division an involves 1,600 individuals in 105 communities. It has enabled 120,928,09 hectares of Amazon forest to be preserved; contributing to the 38% growth of the HPC division in 2013 and 15% growth in 2014.
The program was conceived after the company perceived two factors in its business environment: i) the increase on market demand for natural products obtained through ethical procedures; and ii) the importance of developing sustainable industrial practices. As a result, the company started working on establishing sustainable relationships with local communities, in order to transform them into suppliers, as well as to add value into the company’s final product.
The program is based on Beraca’s triple bottom line, composed by adequate “adequate profitability”, “water and biodiversity preservation” and “human development balance”. Its implementation process occurs by means of three main processes: biodiversity and forest resources assessment, value chain maturity level analysis and a study on the interdependence between the company’s proposed activity and local activities.
Beraca’s value chain consists of five groups: 1) environment – in this case, the Amazon rainforest, where the fruits and seeds come from, 2) extractive communities – which are the direct suppliers of the company, 3) Beraca – as a buyer of natural products and as a producer of raw materials for the manufacture of cosmetics; 4) cosmetics companies – who buy raw materials from Beraca and 5) final consumer of the cosmetics. In addition to the five groups directly linked to production processes, the company has also established strong relationships with federal, state and municipal governments as well as local, national and international NGOs.
The process improvements brought by the socio-biodiversity program generates many benefits for communities. In order to make them suppliers on raw materials, it supports the obtainment of organic certifications, that increase the value of their products by 30%; it also pays pre-agreed prices, often higher than those offered in the market, in prompt payments. The program also provides trainings on work security, child and forced labor prevention. It is also reflected in the company’s profit regarding the HPC division, which had a 38% and 15% growth in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Beraca is strongly committed to forest and the future of the communities, and it is clearly observable in its business strategy, especially concerning the large investments made in research and development of biodiversity departments. Some challenges, however, may cause problems to the company in the future, such as the lack of legalization of land tenure in communities and the low management capacity of the organizations, which pushes Beraca to constantly redesign its strategy.