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Environment

"True sustainability is focused on meeting needs, not wants”, Ulisses Sabará, Beraca

Açaí, buriti, mumumuru and pracaxi, once unheard species of the Amazon rainforest now occupy a prestigious position among natural raw materials used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Companies like Yves Rocher, Aveda, and L’Oréal now incorporate active ingredients from the rich Brazilian flora supplied by Beraca into their products. But behind these ingredients lie more than 50 years of history, an award-winning social and environmental responsibility program, and partnerships with more than 100 communities all over the country. Ulisses Sabará, president of Beraca, talks to Brazil Beauty News about the benefits and the challenges of adopting the sustainable use of the Brazilian biodiversity as a platform for development.

Ulisses Sabará, president of Beraca

Ulisses Sabará, president of Beraca

Brazil Beauty News – Although many companies currently supply ingredients from the Brazilian biodiversity, few have earned the credibility of Beraca in the market. What are Beraca’s main competitive advantages?

Ulisses Sabará – First and foremost, there is a need for a firm conviction in the business model selected. Beraca is a pioneer in the development of raw materials from the Brazilian biodiversity, and has been operating in the cosmetics industry since 1991. We are committed to full traceability of the raw materials we offer to the market, guaranteeing that manufacturers can have access to all the stages in the production chain. Our partnerships with local communities in various states of Brazil reaffirm our respect for the environment and for the local populations by maintaining their lifestyle and supporting the co-creation of technologies.

Brazil Beauty News – How do natural and sustainable raw materials help add value to the final product and influence the consumer’s purchasing decision?

Ulisses Sabará – Consumers are increasingly concerned with the impact of their actions and buying options, but manufacturers also play an important role in educating consumers and raising awareness. Beraca acts synergically with its various stakeholders, bringing together local suppliers and global companies interested in offering products made by natural raw materials with proven efficacy and organic certification.

Brazil Beauty News – In 2000, Beraca launched a social and environmental development program that now works in partnership more than 100 rural communities in Brazil. How has the project been helping to build a new social scenario in the country?

Ulisses Sabará – The Sociobiodiversity Enhancement Program works towards an important mission: to guarantee the sustainable supply of natural raw materials to the global cosmetics industry by preserving the environment and fostering social inclusion. The initiative currently benefits more than 1,600 families in 101 communities in the states of Pará, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Piauí and Minas Gerais. Through training and qualification, Beraca presents opportunities for families in the region to increase their income by gathering fruits and seeds that were once discarded. We observed that the implementation of the program has also led to a decrease in the rural flight among the participants; it is helping to restore dignity and the expectation of a brighter future for the communities involved.

Brazil Beauty News – Many of the companies that invest in research and development of Brazilian native species face barriers imposed by the government relating to access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Is Brazil still not prepared to deal with companies committed to sustainable development or are these obstacles important so that only consistent projects can thrive?

Ulisses Sabará – Both, I believe. Sustainability is a concept that is still being developed, and its application is becoming increasingly widespread. However, Beraca’s proposal is very new, and despite all the international recognition we have gained, it is still not fully regulated by the Brazilian authorities. But changes are on the way. In this process, resilience and pioneering spirit are what counts, and stubbornly, we continue to present an alternative that is consistent with environmental preservation and sustainable development for the communities. It is a chain in which everybody wins.

Brazil Beauty News – The concept of corporate sustainability is no longer a virtue, but an obligation. Would it be correct to say that in the future, only companies committed to sustainable development will survive?

Ulisses Sabará – Without a doubt. The current economic model is showing clear signs of fatigue. Those who take on leadership roles in Brazil and worldwide should understand that the road that leads to preservation, social and environmental development is irreversible, necessary and intelligent, but it is costly. There will always be those who pretend to be what they’re not, and that’s why the term “greenwashing” was created. But there are also those who truly opt to walk the talk, and I believe that these will prevail. I stress that walking in this direction implies in a change of paradigms, and in the adoption of a new cosmovision. True sustainability is focused on meeting needs, not wants. Adopting this concept will make all the difference for the consumer as well as for socially and environmentally engaged companies.

Fernanda Bonifacio

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© 2014 - Brazil Beauty News - www.brazilbeautynews.com

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