Leading up to and during the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21) climate negotiations in Paris, which occur Nov. 30 through Dec. 11, Coca-Cola Journey is publishing a series of climate-focused business articles and providing updates of our participation in events connected to the climate negotiations.
While the Amazon region is more than 5,000 miles from Paris, this tropical, moist forest area was the focus of yesterday’s discussion at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) Amazon Solutions Day, during COP21.
A United Nations global initiative to mobilize scientific and technical expertise in support of sustainable development solutions, the SDSN gathered cross-sector experts to develop a strategy for implementation and adaptation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Amazon and to identify solutions for sustainable development in the region.
At the event, The Coca-Cola Company was invited to present Coletivo Forest, our shared value approach to community development and rainforest conservation in the Amazon region. And, we received the Best Sustainable Development Solution award, recognizing the Coletivo Forest model as a replicable solution in Brazil and other parts of the world toward meeting SDGs.
Coletivo Forest works to strengthen the capabilities of superfruit harvesters, who live under marginal conditions, while providing a high-quality source of raw ingredients for Coca-Cola Brazil beverages. The program empowers Amazon communities to become stewards of the environment, helping them use their forests in a sustainable way, and integrating profits from the business into communities. Coletivo Forest has indirectly reached nearly 3,500 people to date, and is active in close to 40 remote communities in the state of Amazonas.
Experts agree that harvesting Amazon Rainforest fruits supports environmental conservation and provides more economic value than cutting down trees for timber or grazing land. If the forest is sustainably harvested, one hectare in the Amazon could generate nearly US$7,000 of revenue per year, but approximately only US$1,000 if used for commercial timber, and merely US$150 if used as cattle pasture. Coca-Cola’s entrance into the superfruit market is raising awareness about the commercial value of a conserved rainforest, helping generate long-term economic incentives for residents to preserve their communities, and increasing the potential for regional economic transformation and improved lives for the families of producers.
For Coca-Cola, these improvements translate to strengthened value chain integration and improved access to supply of juice. We depend on a reliable supply of many agricultural ingredients, and encourage sustainable agriculture practices like these and more across our global and extensive supply chain.
We are committed to sustainably sourcing our key agricultural ingredients by 2020—a goal that supports an overarching goal to reduce the carbon footprint of the “drink in your hand” by 25 percent by 2020. The challenges in this area are tremendous, but so are the opportunities for us to make a difference. We recognize that climate change may affect not only our direct business and supply chain but also the communities we serve.
It’s inspiring to know that Coletivo Forest can help thousands of people transform their lives and environment through our business, making the forests worth more standing than cut. We’re proud to be recognized for this work, but fully understand there is much more to do. Coca-Cola remains committed to doing our part toward a healthier world—in Paris, the Amazon and everywhere we operate.
Coletivo is a platform design with shared value in mind. Today there are seven Coletivo models operating throughout Brazil, one of which is the Coletivo Forest. While each model includes different training for new sources of income generation, all Coletivo programs emphasize building life skills and self-confidence.
Pedro Massa is shared value director at The Coca-Cola Company
Read our entire series of COP21 articles.