by Luiz Seabra, Guilherme P. Leal, Pedro Luiz Passos and Roberto de Oliveira Marques*
To suggest that humanity is living through a defining moment is perhaps to underestimate the nature of our present situation. Phrases such as "on a cliff-edge’ or “point of no return” would better define the challenges that we face on our planet today.
The first six months of 2020 have been totally disrupted, not only by the pandemic that has provoked fear and demonstrated inequality, but also by racial violence and intolerance worldwide. There is a hunger in the world. Hunger for food. Hunger for justice. Hunger for love, for a better life and a deeply held belief that we need to come together to overcome the cult of the individual and a desire to heal the fragmentation that is so prevalent today.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we have squandered so much that is precious to us on this earth. Beyond the threat to life and the environment, political polarisation is on the increase. Intransigent and backward powers are taking hold and stifling understanding and dialogue. They promote limited points of views that understand the world trough simplistic oppositions: left versus right, north versus south, west versus east. And they do not see value in the fact that there is just one human race, despite our different colours and beliefs.
This account could serve to reinforce the pessimists’ view that humanity has failed as a project. That is not our belief. There are minds and hearts all over the world devoted to a better world. There are projects, with a proven scientific bases, for combating global warming. The only thing holding us back from implementing these solutions is the entrenched short-term interests of certain self-serving global political and economic sectors.
We must now take this unique opportunity to strive for a ‘Life Project’ that goes beyond our own individual lives. Several lessons we as a company have learned in the last half-century will guide us:
Respect for nature
We founded our company 50 years ago, when the world of cosmetics ignored nature/s potential in its formulations and manipulated minds, especially those of women dealing with signs of aging, with the promise of eternal youth. We always strove to upheld truth, and to deepen our relationship with nature.
We were pioneers in the adoption of refills in order to reduce environmental impact of our products, and developed products based on the greatest source biodiversity in the world: the Amazon. Protecting the environment and local communities, respecting their traditional knowledge and ensuring fair trade conditions. Allowing forest communities to lead a dignified life, ensuring that we extract riches from a forest that will remain standing. We have achieved market leadership in Brazil and reached millions of lives with the message of “Bem Estar Bem”, the combination of wellbeing and being well. Promoting self-care, care for the others and for the whole of which we are only a part.
In 2012 we partnered with Aesop, and in 2017 expanded our global presence by uniting with The Body Shop - a company we had admired for years, and whose activist messages by founder Anita Roddick resonated so deeply with our own beliefs. This year, we welcomed Avon to the family, impressed by its wonderful 130-year history offering life-changing opportunities for millions of women around the world. With every company on its own journey, but all moving in the same direction, we founded the Natura &Co group.
As we set out where we would like to be 10 years from now in this 2030 "Commitment to Life", we do not fully know all the steps we need to take to reach it, but we are clear about the direction. The climate crisis is serious. We need to reinvent the way we operate to be greener and more efficient. We will act publicly and transparently in favor of proposals and policies that make this possible. We will be active participants in the construction of systems of change that will allow citizens and markets to clearly track this transformation and pave the way for others. A way that will change everyone as It educates all of us.
Natura has been a carbon neutral company since 2007, but we still have a lot to improve and we are going to reinforce our climate commitment. We will work even more closely with the forces that seek to protect the Amazon, and we will increase our work with companies, governments and academia, to end and reverse its deforestation by 2030.
We are committed to expanding and being transparent in how we care for our own, on this great project and construction of a global perspective. Inclusion and the fight against all forms of discrimination are fundamental, and we believe we can do even more in this regard. We will use digital levers, and our belief in cultivating constructive human relationships, to grow our efforts.
Regarding the impact our products have on the planet, we will ensure we have complete circularity by 2030. We seek to go further and work to build increasingly regenerative means of production, with clear goals for each company in our group. We will seek circularity of the economy and, along this journey, we will invest time and resources in even more regenerative solutions capable of breathing life into our world.
None of this will be possible alone. We built many bridges along the way. The consultants and representatives that make up our powerful network, our employees, with our investors, with those who tell the world how it is changing, with those who produce science and those who create public policies – all an ecosystem that we bring closer and closer to us.
Companies need an open dialogue with society. Looking after their relationships, companies will take care of the climate. Taking care of the climate, they will be able to better enjoy and sustain the wealth to which we are all heirs: life itself, our home, a living, breathing, thriving planet Earth.
*Founder & Co-chairman of the Board, Natura & Co and Founder & Co-chairman or the Board, Natura & Co and Founder & Co-chairman or the Board, Natura & Co and CEO & Executive Chairman of the Board, Natura & Co
**first published in: www.weforum.org