Written by Nathan Gilbert, B Lab
When I was little, probably like most children, I was always told “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. When I got a little older, my mother started to keep Brazil nuts in the cupboards, which replaced the daily apple as the healthy alternative to doctors. I was told that two thumb-size Brazil nuts gave you a healthy dose of antioxidants and vitamins. I never wondered much about these nuts (except their origin which wasn’t too hard to guess given its namesake). It wasn’t until recently, when I had a conversation with Luis Fernando Laranja Da Fonseca of Ouro Verde Amazonia, that I became familiar with all the health characteristics of this nut. I was also impressed to learn how the harvest and production process can have significant impact on indigenous communities and farmers in Brazil, who rely on the fruits of the forest for income.
Ouro Verde Amazonia, a producer and seller of Brazil nuts, recently became the first Certified B Corp in Brazil and the second to certify in South America. “We wanted to be a B Corp because our mission is very connected with the B Corp mission and characteristics. It is very natural, almost obvious, to be a B Corp,” said Luis Fernando Laranja Da Fonseca, the Director of Ouro Verde.
Ouro Verde’s social and environmental impact is directly connected with the Amazon forests in Brazil and the communities that live there. Luis explains,
“The main point is the relationship our company has with our suppliers. All suppliers are indigenous communities, farmers, and collectives that live in the Amazon. Since the beginning we decided to pay a premium price based on the quality of the Brazil nuts. We really like to pay a premium price, not because we are nice guys, but because what we’re getting is a better product. We are not talking about philanthropy but a win-win situation.”
Ouro Verde has taken the first step, an act of leadership, to expand the B Corp community to Brazil. Luis states, “Even though there is no practical benefit of being a B Corp now, we were interested to start with this new model here in Brazil. I think there will be a number of B Corps around the world. It is only natural that it expands to Brazil and Latin America. We are very proud. It’s a recognition of our work and social impact in Brazil that we have been developing in the last 10 years.”
Ouro Verde is leading by example. Their goal is to grow the business and expand their social impact to other regions in the Amazon. They are now joined by a small community of four other South American B Corps, a community that is likely to grow quickly with the newly established partnership with Sistema B. Sistema B is working to promote the B Corp Certification in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil, further making this a global community of companies striving to redefine success in business and realizing Luis’s belief that it is only “natural” that this movement expands throughout Latin America.
Learn more about Sistema B and the South American community of B Corps at www.sistemab.org.