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Natura: The Green Machine

The São Paulo-based direct seller continues to be ahead of the pack, winning 88 awards for its sustainable efforts in 2012.

Natura’s longstanding tag line, Bem Estar Bem (“Well-being, Being Well,” in English), reflects that sustainable development has been at the heart of its business model since the company’s inception in 1969— long before the concept became a buzzword.

The São Paulo-based direct seller continues to be ahead of the pack, winning 88 awards for its efforts in 2012 and taking second place in the annual Corporate Knights ranking of the world’s most sustainable companies. From its suppliers, manufacturing operations and logistics to its sales representatives and even final product disposal, Natura has developed indicators to assess its business practices. Even the compensation of senior management and performance reviews are calculated according to the “triple bottom line” approach, involving environmental and social factors. Among its most recent initiatives is an “ecological park,” called the Ecoparque Ver a Vida, in Benevides, near the mouth of the Amazon basin. The first stage of its construction began last year, on a soap production plant.

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One of the main goals of the project, which should be completed later in 2013, is to try to attract new investment and business to the Amazon region. The eco park will ultimately offer space to other companies interested in using the ingredients of “social biodiversity” in the 175-hectare park, taking into account human populations as well as the natural environment, based on the concept of “industrial symbiosis.”

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“The waste of one company may be the input for production of another company,” says Natura vice president of operations and logistics João Paulo Ferreira. “Our experience in the sustainable use of [ingredients] from the Amazon can be a service to be offered to other entrepreneurs. We thus want to multiply our value proposal.”

Many of Natura’s sustainability initiatives focus on the Amazon, from supporting and educating local populations to securing supply chain for the future. The company plans to increase its consumption of raw materials from the forest from 11 percent today to 30 percent by 2020, thereby investing in the preservation of traditional ingredients and supporting local populations.