Impact Investments Benefit Amazon Producers

Five projects in three states mobilize capital and boost their production

November / December 2023 – In under three days, a fundraising effort to support impact investment in the Amazon benefited five production projects spread across three states: Pará, Amazonas, and Tocantins. Closing its 14th Fundraising Round, SITAWI Finance for Good raised R$395,000.

The winning organizations (see list below) produce food and inputs for the food, cosmetics, and beverage industries in a cooperative and sustainable way. “These companies were selected due to their high potential to generate positive economic and socioenvironmental results in their areas of activity. The amounts to be invested will be used as working capital, as well as to expand their production and marketing. Consequently boosting their impacts,” says SITAWI Vice President Bruno Girardi.

The Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Vale Fund are strategic partners under this initiative. 

These projects have great development potential, offer investors 14% annual return, and the current scenario of a falling SELIC rate (the basic interest rate of the Brazilian economy) contributed to this successful fundraising event. “These businesses are growing; and people and companies are developing a better understanding of this model, and thus losing their fear of investing because they realize that these organizations represent good business,” Girardi explains. 

Complement – The total amount raised this investment round reached R$795,000 with a contribution from the Vale Fund through a matching funds mechanism (where in collective funds are leveraged by a social investor). 

“Through our partnership, we were able to provide access to impact investment and mobilize capital for organizations in the Amazon that have innovative business models. They combine income generation, appreciation of local culture, and protection of natural resources in such an important biome for the whole world, thus contributing to our purpose of driving a more sustainable, fair, and inclusive economy,” says Gustavo Luz, Executive Director of the Vale Fund.

Successful Applicants – One of the benefiting organizations is Tobasa, a leader in the production and supply of activated carbon using babassu coconut, a fruit native to Brazil. Located in Tocantinópolis, in the state of Tocantins, Tobasa employs 180 people, and produces babassu oil, protein cake, energy biomass, starch flour, and starch alcohol. The company operates in an area of 300,000 hectares of native forests managed by the local community, generating income for 1,500 households. 

Another business that benefits from this initiative is Coopersapó, a cooperative of small family farmers from the city of Maués, in the state of Amazonas. They grow and sell guaraná in grains and powder. Founded with the aim of valuing the forest and the artisanal production of guaraná, the cooperative generates income for 45 members and operates in a territory that covers 14 communities.

ParaOil is another company that attracted funding to boost its production. Located in the municipality of Acará, in the state of Pará, it is an agroindustrial company that produces oils and butters for the cosmetics and food sectors. Local inputs (andiroba and cupuaçu) are collected and supplied by approximately  20 families from the Boa Vista riverine quilombola community.

Founded in 2018, Deveras produces sustainable food and ingredients from Amazon. Located in Santarém, in the state of Pará, it produces jellies, liqueurs, preserves, and dehydrated products. It has 24 suppliers spread over 11 production chains and 6 extractive communities, covering an area of 300 hectares in the Lower Amazon region. The operation indirectly benefits 78 people, 80 percent of whom are women. 

Flor de Jambu is a trader of Amazon products made by small and medium-sized producers. Its 32 suppliers engage more than 1,000 families in the states of Rondônia, Amazonas, Acre, and Pará. Among the products available on their online platform, 21 originate from family farming, 9 are from female leaders, 7 from Indigenous peoples, and 21 from riverine communities.

The R$795,000 attracted in the 14th Round will add to the more than R$30 million previous investments.  Over the past 15 years they benefited more than 60 organizations.

To find out more about the projects watch the video and visit the Sitawi website.