SAMBAZON is an acronym that stands for ‘SustAinable Management of the Brazilian AmaZON’...and we mean every bit of it.
SAMBAZON is the first Certified Organic and Fair Trade Açaí. We actually helped develop the initial rules that govern the standard in partnership with one of the largest international certification agencies, Ecocert, in 2008. Fair Trade is founded on the following principles:
- Respect of Human Rights and Fair Working Conditions
- Respect of the Ecosystem, Promotion of Biodiversity, and Sustainable Agricultural Practices
- Respect and Betterment of our Local Communities
Every berry of Açaí that SAMBAZON uses is EcoCert Certified Fair Trade and Fair For Life. EcoCert guarantees (and verifies annually with an audit) that we provide a living wage, safe working conditions and that we follow only sustainable harvesting practices. In addition, we support Amazon locals by contributing to rural and urban efforts, building schools, and investing in entrepreneurs and community building. To date, we’ve donated just under $800,000 to Fair Trade projects in Brazil: from farmers/families support, to health, education, water and sanitation, and infrastructure projects as part of our fair trade commitment.
We’ve donated $54,252 to farmers and families support to date.
People in emerging markets have traditionally been exploited for their labor or raw materials. In the case of Açaí, we realized that the middlemen were purchasing berries from the farmers at a very low cost and, after changing hands many times, only the people at the top saw a large profit. We don’t believe the ones who do the hardest work, the farmers, should see the smallest amount of profit. So, we created a direct model that supports the farmers by eliminating the middlemen. We can afford to pay farmers premium value for their fruit, giving them the chance to maximize their profit. We even set a minimum base price for all fruit we purchase at the beginning of every year, with the aim of always paying at or over this base price, regardless of market fluctuations!
SAMBAZON also provides training and assistance for the best practices for Açaí harvesting. We have created an upward cycle of sustainable development in the local community! By offering yearly training courses and sharing best practices in Açaí growth, harvesting, agribusiness and management, locals are empowered to take control of their economic future by using renewable resources to make a living while simultaneously protecting the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest.
We’ve donated $37,928 to healthcare projects to date. SAMBAZON has helped build or renovate many healthcare and nursing centers. Below are a few detailed highlights:
Casa de Hospitalidade is a Catholic initiative that takes care of orphan children or children whose parents are unable to take care of them. SAMBAZON provides technical support on maintenance of the installations. The institution services over 400 children.
Creche Igarape de Fortaleza is a daycare center nearby SAMBAZON's plant. SAMBAZON supports this center by donating office equipment and general services. Some SAMBAZON employees have their children at this daycare while they work. The center services over 300 local children.
Creche Lilia Miotto is a daycare located in a less developed area of the city of Santana. SAMBAZON supports Creche Lia Miotto by donating construction material for the building of additional rooms they need to complete the center. The institution services over 200 children.
We’ve donated $595,184 to education projects to date. SAMBAZON has helped build and renovate several schools that service the local communities where Açaí is harvested.
We are strong advocates of education. Education gives us a knowledge of the world around us and drives us to change it into something better. In certain areas of Brazil, kids can only attend school by a potentially long boat ride, many of them stay home instead. Our schools are located in areas that are close to the communities we harvest from, allowing for easier access to education for kids that might not otherwise have an opportunity to attend school. We’ve given financial support and helped to construct or reform several schools, ultimately serving more than 800 families and 1,000 children.
We also started ‘Pontes Pará O Futuro’ in the city of Santana where our first factory is located, at Igarapé de Fortaleza. Over 1,000 students there now have an art department with classes that stimulate their creativity and motivate them to showcase their creations!
Water & Sanitation Projects
We’ve donated $15,984 to water and sanitation projects to date. SAMBAZON has funded community projects that contribute to the betterment of local communities as well as the biodiversity of the Amazon.
We’ve provided trash collecting services within the city of Santana as well as mechanical water filtration systems to our river communities, ensuring they have access to filtered and safe drinking water. Speaking of water, all the water SAMBAZON uses in our factories is filtered multiple times using state of the art equipment and is subsequently used in the washing, preparation and processing of the Açaí fruit. The wastewater produced is later collected and processed through another filter system. This helps to keep the clean environment...and, we can even use the sediment removed from the water as a fertilizer to grow different types of seedlings that we can then donate to local Açaí harvesters!
We’ve donated $77,225 to infrastructure projects to date. These projects include the construction of several buildings from the Capuchin medical center, to the IMENA library and several schools.
How YOU Can Help
If you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, we want to thank you for your interest in learning more about what SAMBAZON has been able to accomplish with our Fair Trade Certification. These projects would not be possible without you and your support! You help protect the Amazon, support our sustainable harvesting practices AND give back to the family farmers we work with...every single time you purchase SAMBAZON Açaí. Our pledge, your impact.
You can continue to support projects like these by voting with your dollar. As a consumer, you have the power to look beyond the label and know more about the businesses you support and where your dollar goes. We encourage you to continue being a conscious consumer and support triple-bottom-line, sustainable businesses like SAMBAZON. Because together, we can pave the way for a better, more sustainable world!