Did you know that when you buy Natura products you are helping to protect the forest biodiversity? With respect to Ekos Andiroba products, there is a direct relationship with the conservation of chelonians – turtles, terrapins and tortoises – in the heart of the Amazon, in the Mid Juruá territory. The region supplies andiroba oil and murumuru and ucuuba butter.
The link between the fauna and Amazonian seeds is due to benefit sharing, a legal mechanism that establishes fair relationships between companies and the native population aimed at conserving biodiversity. Because of this, when we buy andiroba to use the oil in our products, part of the proceeds from the sale return to the Amazon.
This occurs in the form of support for initiatives – chosen by local communities and organisations – such as chelonian conservation, a project linked with the Amazonas Federal University (Ufam) and the environmental body Ibama (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), in a partnership with local communities that has been in place for over 20 years.
This project was made possible after a determination by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international agreement established as a result of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Eco-92.
Launched in 1993, the CBD establishes that the role played by local communities in conserving biodiversity should be recognised. It provides for fair sharing when the genetic heritage or traditional knowledge of a people are used for commercial purposes. Since 2004, Natura has paid out around R$ 53 million - equivalent to over U$127 million dollars - in more than 90 benefit sharing contracts all over Brazil.
Caring for nests and hatchlings
During the dry season, the turtles seek the beaches on local rivers to deposit their eggs. Wardens are assigned to watch over and conserve these eggs 24 hours a day. This helps impede the exploitation and illegal commerce of these animals.
In addition to monitoring, the work consists of demarcating the nests and counting the eggs until they hatch. Since the wardens – normally representatives of the communities – need to sleep in the region, the project ensures that they are provided with food and other necessities.
Since 2017, when we started to support turtle conservation via a benefit sharing initiative, more than the 3,000 nests have been preserved, with the goal of ensuring the survival of 2,000 of these hatchlings.
More projects in the Mid Juruá region
The conservation of turtles is not the only initiative supported by benefit sharing projects in the Mid Juruá, region in the heart of the Amazon forest. Pirarucu stewardship, one of the largest river and lake freshwater fish in Brazil, and the vegetable oil production chain are other social, economic and environmental impact fronts in the region.
In the case of the pirarucu, the objective is to provide local communities with incentives to develop sustainable fishing techniques and monitor the rivers. This is necessary because when fishing takes place at the right time, the species, which is essential for the families’ diet and income, is conserved.
Regarding vegetable oils, benefit sharing helps the communities to improve sustainable vegetable active ingredient harvesting processes, protecting the forest. The mechanism also supports measures aimed at improving the micro-mills that process the seeds, which are sold as oil, making the end product more profitable.
It should be noted that all these initiatives are led and conducted by local partners, such as cooperatives, associations, non-governmental and government organisations. The funds from benefit sharing contribute to the initiatives run by diverse institutions that operate in networks aimed at promoting quality of life for traditional peoples and communities, as well as supporting value chains, the conservation of biodiversity and local development in the Mid Juruá territory.