Fibria takes to London a photography and virtual-reality video exhibition on planted forests in Brazil
During London Pulp Week 2017, the world’s leading producer of eucalyptus pulp also presents a case study on initiatives that share value with local communities, conducted by FSG, the consulting firm led by Professor Michael Porter
London, November 7, 2017 – Fibria, a Brazilian company that is the world’s leading producer of eucalyptus pulp from planted forests, presents in London the exhibition “The Forest Under a New Prism,” which features photos from Araquém Alcântara, one of Brazil’s most important nature photographers.
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest and its birds, mammals, traditional communities, and small farmers are some of the stars of the exhibition, which presents a new way of looking at planted forests. The exhibition also features 360° virtual reality (VR) videos created during a 5,000-kilometer expedition that spanned from the mountains of Espírito Santo state to the southern coastal lowlands of Bahia state, connecting with people from indigenous tribes to fishing villages.
“The project gave us insight into the strength of nature and the communities forming this region of Brazil. It was a great opportunity to portray the rivers, fauna and flora that form scenes of such great beauty,” said photographer Araquém Alcântara.
The photo exhibition is at the Corinthia Hotel (Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD), where, on Nov. 7, Fibria will sponsor a lecture by Dane Smith, director of FSG – a consulting firm founded by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, two Harvard University professors and scholars studying the relationship between the economy and social impact – which conducted an analysis of Fibria’s sustainability actions and how they share value with society.
The case study was based on a comprehensive survey and 65 interviews with several of the company’s stakeholders, such as employees, directors, suppliers, researchers, supervisory agencies, and communities neighboring Fibria’s plants in Brazil.
According to the consulting firm, Fibria’s efforts to incorporate its social and environmental investments into its business strategy are part of a trend by leading global companies, which are starting to recognize the connection between their financial success and society’s prosperity. According to FSG, this correlation, known as “shared value,” boosts a company’s competitiveness while improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of local communities.
Over its history, Fibria has developed many programs and initiatives to create value shared with society. One such example is the Rural Land Development Program (PDRT), which supports the development of local farmer associations to foster local development. In 2009, wood theft represented for Fibria a loss of 650,000 cubic meters of eucalyptus (around R$50 million) and raised tensions with neighboring communities, where a dearth of viable economic alternatives contributed to the activity.
Farmer Cláudio Olímpio, who lives in Espora Gato, Bahia, is currently a beneficiary of the PDRT. “We said ‘bring back the work of our grandparents, farming.’” Thanks to the program, “we’ve abandoned making charcoal and started working the land,” said Olímpio.
Just like for the local community, the results for Fibria are also clear. In 2016, the PDRT was supporting 50 communities and wood theft had fallen by 90% compared to 2009. Today, PDRT benefits some 5,000 families, whose average monthly income is R$4,700. The program works differently in each of the communities neighboring one of Fibria three plants, which are located in Jacareí, São Paulo; Aracruz, Espírito Santo; and Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul.
Another of the company’s value-sharing program is Forest Savings, which helps farmers grow eucalyptus on their properties as a way to diversify their crops and sources of income. Many local residents have seen major transformations in their lives, such as Florisberto José dos Santos, from the Itaúnas community in Conceição da Barra, Espírito Santo. “Thanks to eucalyptus, today I have a house and have expanded my property,” he said.
The Forest Savings Program also plays an important role in environmental conservation and recovery. Fibria requires beneficiaries to comply with the Brazilian Forest Code on their entire properties. It also provides technical support on sustainable farming techniques that even exceed legal requirements.
In addition to increasing its social and environmental impact, the Program has become an important source for supplying Fibria’s wood needs for pulp production. Although the Forest Savings began its work with a target of meeting 5% of the wood needs of the Aracruz plant, its contribution has grown to supplying on average 20% of its consumption. Today, 2,000 families benefit from the Program. In 2016, Fibria saved more than R$100 million by interacting with farmers across its supply chain.
“We saw an opportunity to restructure the company’s relationship with the community. We talked, compromised and developed a solution together. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with our shared-value initiatives,” said Fibria CEO Marcelo Castelli. “We were able to improve the lives of hundreds of families and also the environment, while also becoming a more profitable company. And I’m certain that this is just the beginning. There’s still much to be done,” he added.
“Brazilian and global companies can learn a lot from Fibria’s example,” said Dane Smith, director of FSG. “There are innumerous opportunities for companies to leverage their competitiveness and profitability by seeking solutions to solve problems like hunger, poverty, low-quality education and others. These are shared-value strategies and companies must learn how to develop them,” summed up Smith.
On Nov. 9, as part of London Pulp Week, the exhibition will be open to visitors at the Hawkins Wright & BWPA London Symposium (The IET London, Savoy Place, WC2R 0BL), an event that brings together the world’s leading pulp manufacturers.
In addition to the beautiful nature photos taken by photographer Araquém Alcântara, another highlight is the 360° virtual reality (VR) videos. Visitors can use last-generation VR headsets to embark on a virtual experience to accompany, in a nearly lifelike immersion, activities such as the removal of honeycombs from eucalyptus forests, the planting of native Atlantic Forest saplings and the production of food by family farmers.
“The project shows how the land under Fibria’s influence is connected and maintains a systemic link among regions, traditional communities, the company and the environment. This connection values diversity, dialogue, building together, partnership and plurality. We hope the exhibition is as well received here in London as it was in Brazil,” said Fibria’s Sustainability, Communications and Corporate Affairs Officer, Maria Luiza Pinto e Paiva.
The world leader in eucalyptus pulp production, Fibria strives to meet, in a sustainable manner, the growing global demand for products from planted forests. With annual production capacity of 7.25 million tons of pulp, it has industrial units in Aracruz (Espírito Santo), Jacareí (São Paulo) and Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul), as well as in Eunápolis (Bahia), where it operates Veracel in a joint operation with Stora Enso. Fibria has 1,056,000 hectares of forests, which include 633,000 hectares of planted forests, 364,000 hectares earmarked for environmental preservation and conservation, and 59,000 hectares destined for other uses. The pulp produced by Fibria is exported to more than 35 countries and is the raw material for educational, health, hygiene and cleaning products. Learn more at www.fibria.com.br.
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