Fibria’s relations with stakeholders and local communities were built brick by brick, in a lengthy process of mutual understanding and cooperation. Today, thanks to permanent dialogue and structured engagement programs, solid bonds of partnership exist and actions are being carried out with important ramifications for the company and for those living near its operational areas.
Over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of new, more rigorous demands and standards of socioenvironmental responsibility. To accompany this change, Fibria has made significant efforts and obtained international recognition for some of its practices. One such example is the shared value case study conducted by the consulting firm FSG, led by Harvard professors Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (click here to see the case study). However, there are still complex challenges to overcome on the social front associated with issues that affect all of Brazilian society and are manifested particularly in northern Espírito Santo state and southern Bahia state.
Fibria recognizes that forging partnerships is essential for ensuring the realization of effective actions in local communities. As such, the company works with partners in the public, private and third sectors to implement programs with the capacity to create new jobs, generate income and accelerate social inclusion. In 2016, Fibria invested over R$41 million in social projects targeting local communities and its many different stakeholders, which included representatives from indigenous peoples, Quilombolas and agrarian rights movements.
Fibria’s social projects and investments are aligned with its sustainability guidelines and its idelines and its strategic objectives and were planned and developed based on three pillars:
Fibria establishes relationship channels with local communities near its forestry and industrial operations to discuss and develop actions capable of maximizing the positive impacts of its operations and of preventing, reducing or eliminating any adverse effects. Fibria’s goal is to seek harmonious relationships that minimize conflicts and provide benefits for all parties involved. This dialogue is conducted months before the start of any operation, followed by monitoring, after which a satisfaction survey is conducted to assess the actual results in relation to what was agreed upon.
Representatives from Fibria observe firsthand the local situation by maintaining a constant presence in the communities to act as points of access, connection and communication between the parties, thereby encouraging constant dialogue.
Strengthening relations with local communities and learning their real needs enables Fibria to serve as an effective partner in local development. The company discusses with community representatives their shared interests in a transparent and participatory way, with a view to building relationships based on trust. All social projects conducted and invested in by Fibria are rooted in such engagement.
Social performance macro-indicators
Fibria’s key socioenvironmental numbers follow:
- Total socioenvironmental investment in 2017 was R$52.8 million, 29% more than the R$41 million invested in 2016.
- There were 1,063 Operational Dialogues conducted in 2017, in which 9,997 people participated, an increase of 85% on 2015, when 671 dialogues were conducted in which 4,193 people participated.
- Investment in socioenvironmental projects per household benefited increased 15.5%, from R$5,054 in 2015 to R$5,839 in 2016.
- 3% of projects to boost income generation and strengthen social capital executed by communities or associations were evaluated as self-sustainable in 2016, compared to 20% in 2015. This result meets the Company’s long-term target of making 70% of its income generation projects self-sustainable by 2025.
Actions conducted based on the three pillars of sustainable operations:
The keyword in Fibria’s relationship with interested parties is dialogue – in any situation, as often as possible. Dialogue with communities reveals their real situations, problems and needs, which the company can then use to design social projects and investments, as well to adjust its business conduct.
Operational Dialogue occurs wherever there are Fibria operations (forestry and industrial), which become more intense during the eucalyptus harvest season. At meetings with community representatives, detailed discussions are held of what will occur in the different phases of the harvest period, i.e., before, during and after the operation.
In 2016, Fibria conducted 1,246 dialogues with more than 8,700 representatives from communities affected by silviculture, harvesting, logistics and industrial activities. After concluding the forestry operations, for example, the community involved evaluates the process through a questionnaire applied by the operational dialogue team concerning the effectiveness of the mitigation actions. Each response receives a score of good (3), fair (2), poor (1) or very poor (0) and the final score is based on a weighted average, which stood at 2.8 in 2016, i.e., very close to good.
Fibria invests in over 400 projects that involve more than 18,000 families, in areas such as education, ecological family farming, rural land development, beekeeping, fishing, handicrafts, public management, indigenous sustainability and sustainable settlements (date for 2016). Learn about some of these initiatives:
Rural Land Development Program (PDRT)
One of the most far-reaching projects and with the biggest impact is the Rural Land Development Program (PDRT), which helps to boost the household income about 4,000 households in the states of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo. Launched in 2012, the PDRT trains family farmers organized in associations and networks and is guided by three vectors: technical support; incentives for low-cost technologies, which reduce environmental impacts, and incentives; and support for tapping government programs to expand opportunities for selling products.
This unique project – which is the product of lengthy coordination between the government, the National Institute of Agrarian Reform and Settlement (Incra), agrarian reform movements such as the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), the Family Farm Workers’ Federation (Fetag) and the National Federation of Family Farm Workers (Fetraf) – involves the use by family farmers of forest areas in southern Bahia state. The parties reached an agreement after innumerous meetings and, in 2012, the project was effectively launched, with the project’s coordinator, the Luiz de Queiroz Higher Agricultural School (ESALQ) of the University of São Paulo (USP), supported by a team formed by agronomists and agricultural and forest technicians.
The purpose was to transform farms sold to Incra into model settlements in management and production, on areas that combined cover 11,000 hectares. Each family receives a seven-hectare lot to cultivate and receives support in the form of assistance and financing for creating sustainable settlements, access to a technical school, the involvement of NGOs and universities and an agroforestry education center to develop multipliers.
The agreement between the parties was signed in December 2015 and, in 2017, a total of 800 families were producing 25 different agricultural and manufactured goods, with R$5 million in sales.
Fibria has two specific initiatives for indigenous communities: the Tupiniquim Guarani Sustainability Project (PSTG), with 11 Tupiniquin tribes and one Guarani tribe, in the state of Espírito Santo; and the Ofayé Sustainability Program (PSO) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
Developed on the indigenous lands of the Tupiniquim and Guarani in Aracruz, Espírito Santo since 2012, the PSTG is a set of long-term actions formulated by experts to reestablish the environmental conditions required so that these people can develop sustainable economic activities, as well as affirm their sociocultural identity.
The project encompasses agroecology, forest restoration, beekeeping, cultivation and strengthening collectives, as well as the creation of the Support Fund for Indigenous Community Initiatives. Since 2012, a total of R$8.9 million has been invested in the PSTG.
Meanwhile, the Ofayé Sustainability Program works to strengthen and disseminate the culture of the world’s only group of this ethnicity. Created in 2012 by authorization of the National Indigenous Peoples Foundation (Funai), the program organizes actions to support handicrafts production and to protect the traditions of the Ofayé, whose native language runs the risk of disappearing and is spoken by only nine individuals, as determined by a diagnosis conducted by Fibria. In 2013, a booklet with terms in Ofayé was prepared for distribution among the tribe’s members order to help keep the dialect alive.
In 2014, the women participated in a needlepoint course and, in a partnership between Fibria and the Hankrägani Association of Ofayé Producers, the first Ofayé Handicraft Fair was held in Enodi, a village in Brasilândia, Mato Grosso do Sul, among other initiatives. Today, the tribe’s products are sold in the city of Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul and in São Paulo city.
A Fibria initiative in partnership with associations and cooperatives from the states of São Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Espírito Santo and Bahia, the Beehives Program was launched in 2001 and today creates jobs and income opportunities for some 1,200 beekeepers. In 2016, a total of 1,600 tons of honey were produced, 500 tons of which were exported. The first commercial production of honey from native bees, mainly by indigenous tribes living in Espírito Santo, also began in the same year. In 2016, the member associations of the Beehives Program accounted for 35% of total honey production in the state of São Paulo and for 65% in the state of Espírito Santo.
Votorantim Partnership for Education
On the educational front, the highlight is the Votorantim Partnership for Education (PVE), a program with a broad scope organized by the Votorantim Institute to help improve public education in 53 municipalities where group’s companies operate, which include Fibria. Created in 2008, the program concentrates its efforts on mobilizing society and strengthening school administrations. To date, it has benefited 795 schools and over 700,000 students and administered training to 1,590 school principals and educational coordinators.
Click here to learn more about the initiatives of the Votorantim Partnership for Education.