Brazil: The New Home of Do-Gooder Business

Friday, October 27, 2017

When French ecological shoe brand Veja wanted to design a new sport sole for its footwear, it consulted MateriaBrasil. Soon, fashion-forward women in Rio de Janeiro were cruising into business meetings in Veja Esplar high-tops — marketed as Vert in Brazil — with soles made of wild rubber harvested in the Amazonian state of Acre. Veja shoes, through the company’s own research, now also feature tilapia-skin uppers from the interior of São Paulo state.

Thanks to its success in connecting companies with the producers of fairly sourced raw materials from the country’s far reaches, Rio-based MateriaBrasil has become an anchor of Brazil’s growing B Corporation movement — one of the world’s largest outside the U.S. — which pledges to put society and the planet ahead of strictly making money. Brazil has 103 certified B Corps, more than 10 times the number since certification became possible in the country in 2013.

The movement here ranges from publicly traded cosmetics giant Natura to 4YOU2, a small, privately owned outfit that teaches English classes on São Paulo’s peripheries. “The B Corp community makes us excited to think about the possible social benefits of each new product,” says Pedro Ivo, whose company Zebu is developing organic paints that can serve as teaching tools about the life cycles of ingredients like cacao, açaí and achiote.

Photo courtesy of Sudipto Sarkar.

Source: OZY (link opens in a new window)

social enterprise