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Workshop in Altarmira addresses payments for socio-environmental services

Photo: AMAZ Disclosure

AMAZ and two of its portfolio businesses – Mazô Maná and Simbiótica Finance – held a workshop in May in Altamira, Pará, addressing Payments for Social and Environmental Services (PSSA).

Two fronts were the focus of this meeting: the beginning of an articulation to build a methodology for PSSA not limited to carbon, but taking into account the full protection of the territory by indigenous peoples, riverside people and quilombolas; and Mazô Maná's strategy in relation to community suppliers, especially focused on the Terra do Meio Canteen Network, based on fair trade with additional payments based on the appreciation of the community's way of life.

Mazô Maná's business modeling was the catalyst for the workshop, which also brought together other partners such as iCS (Instituto Clima e Sociedade), SBSA (Szazi, Bechara, Storto, Reicher e Figueiredo Lopes Advogados) and Idesam (Instituto de Conservação and Sustainable Development of the Amazon).

The group visited the headquarters of Mazô Maná and participated in an expedition, organized in partnership with Mazô Maná, which included a visit to the business headquarters in Altamira, and also to one of the partner communities of Resex Rio Iriri. Some of the ingredients in Mazô Maná's first product, which will be launched soon, come from the region, and the expedition's participants were able to taste the product firsthand.

“We talked about new PSSA models, which can generate an important increase in income for forest communities, associated with the sale of ingredients. As we see in the Amazon deforestation maps, it is clear that where there are forest peoples, there are standing forests. This is largely due to the way of life of these populations, which results in important services to society such as monitoring forest invasions, conservation of biodiversity, among others”, highlights Marcelo Salazar, CEO of Mazô Maná.

The intention is to develop a methodology that is replicable: “The idea is that what is being built is also adaptable to other regions of the Amazon. This will require inserting new actors into this discussion. We are taking the first step of something bigger here. Mazô Maná is with us as a catalyst for a methodology that will need the involvement of other organizations to be made viable”, assesses Gabriela Souza, AMAZ acceleration coordinator.

Victoria Bastos, coordinator of Idesam's Climate Change and Environmental Services Program, points out that what is thought for this PSSA methodology has similarities with the concept of fair trade, present in the supply chain market, but goes beyond what would be a PSSA fully linked to the product that suppliers deliver.

“It is a larger strategy, which does not only involve suppliers and the commercial relationship, but involves the entire Resex. Of being able to have an additional resource to what they already get through the Cantinas Network with the sale and preparation of products, which can guarantee the long-term sustainability of these organizations. And the format could be a PSSA that is not limited to carbon, but that can consider other resources and environmental services of the Reserve, conserved by the way of life of those who live there. Prove that this is related to forest conservation.”

Photo: AMAZ Disclosure

Rafaela Romano, co-founder of Simbiótica Finance, points out that the group made the exercise, based on existing models of relationships with communities, to highlight which parameters need to be improved and which should not be repeated.

“Some of the points raised are the viability of a PSSA system for small communities, a model in which the money for carrying out the process is not greater than the money destined for the communities; and the complexity of creating a model whose understanding is feasible both for those who already deal with the carbon market and for the communities. We talked a lot about the possibility of having, as an indicator of an environmental service to be paid, the very management of the territory based on being in the forest. Walking/navigating through the forest as responsible for territorial management and conservation. We have this virtuous cycle of conservation related to existence”, he evaluates.

Aline Souza, from the SBSA law firm, which advises AMAZ and its portfolio businesses, highlights the power of the accelerator's work in connecting entrepreneurs and relevant people in the socio-environmental impact ecosystem.

“In legal terms, it is an opportunity in the current regulatory agenda to propose market solutions for valuing the traditional way of life, of those who live in the forest, and how this connects with economic production. We still live in a scenario of very basic regulation in relation to the carbon market, which brings an opportunity for market agents who want to bring innovation and are committed to this generation of positive socio-environmental impact.”

She considers that well-consolidated experiences, creating good success stories, can inspire the creation of public policies in the future, at a time when Brazil is once again being closely observed in relation to investments and actions for the protection of the Amazon.

SBSA is at the forefront of a project to define guidelines and recommendations for fair contracts between communities and companies in the Amazon, which has several organizations on its advisory board, including Idesam. Aline points out that the methodology is anchored in three principles: it's only fair if you can understand it; it is only fair if it reduces asymmetries; and it's only fair if it improves people's lives.

“Following this methodology of fair contracts, we believe that it is possible to contribute to a new level of negotiation with communities, valuing their protagonism, their traditional way of life and the positive socio-environmental impact at the same time that we positively generate solutions financial resources for the people involved”, he adds.

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