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Sambazon first to gain acai fair trade status

By Katie Nichol , 22-Oct-2009
Last updated on 22-Oct-2009 at 19:44 GMT

Global acai leader, Sambazon, has become the first acai player to win a fair trade certification for its harvesting practises in the Amazon, where the ‘superfruit’ is grown.

The certification from the global control and certification organization, Ecocert, recognizes ‘good behaviour’ in social, environmental and economic areas. These include human rights, biodiversity, sustainable management and the establishment of a guaranteed minimum price paid to producers.

Sambazon vice president of marketing, Jeremy Black, said the certification provided some kind of validation for many years of work with local partners to protect the Amazon rainforest and ensure local partners were rewarded for their work.

Triple bottom-line

“It’s not a simple process, but the certification is very rewarding for Sambazon because it underlines our triple bottom-line (people-planet-profits) approach to business,” he told NutraIngredients-USA.com

Sambazon’s commitment to ethical practices and sustainability is also evidenced through its Sustainable Amazon Partnership (SAP), a public-private sector collaboration created in 2003, aiming to promote lasting sustainable development of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.

The SAP aims to, “maximize the positive results from açaí trade & minimize the negative impacts by combating and providing alternatives to these destructive activities” said Black.

In addition to acai training program, which identifies the right processes and equipment for harvesting, the partnership also offers alternative income-generating activities for woman, youths and small family farmers.

“On a broad scale, families are able to diversify their income by selling other agricultural products, primarily heart of palm, which Sambazon has enabled farmers and landowners to maximize” said Black.

Sambazon donates the seeds to make jewelry that the communities sell and also donates seeds to a local factory that use them as fuel for a kiln that produces locally-sold ceramics, he explained.

According to Elsa Poncet on behalf of Ecocert, their independent fair trade guarantee system is an international label whose visibility is increasing, although it was only launched in 2007.

Founded in 2000 as the first company to bring the antioxidant-rich acai berry from the Amazon to North America, Sambazon won the US Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence in 2006.

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