Protecting Biodiversity Through Amazonas River Mouth Traditional Communities Livelihoods: Bailique's FSC® ES certification case in Brazil

We have structured an FSC certified value chain for Açaí, resulting in positive impacts on communities and biodiversity conservation

Photo of Bruno Brazil de Souza
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Bruno Brazil de Souza, on behalf of José Rubens Gomes

Initiative's representative date of birth

October 25th, 1981

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Brazil

Headquarters location: city

Macapá, State of Amapá, Brazil

Where are you making a difference?

Amazonas River Mouth, Bailique's Archipelago, State of Amapá, Brazil.

Website or social media url(s)

Date Started

December, 2013

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

The political organization work that preceded the structuring of the Açaí business and the FSC certification for Ecosystem Services was born with the completion of a community engagement protocol, held in 2013. Inspired by the Nagoya protocol and with the support of Rubens Gomes and an important network of partners, Bailique's communities worked to define the management directives for their territory, among which the Açaí value chain stood out. Back there, were created the foundations of AMAZONBAI, the community extractivist cooperative of Bailique which today contributes to the maintenance of 2,350 ha of tropical forest cover, habitat for wide species diversity.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

One of the main causes of species extinction is the loss of habitats. Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to this process in Brazilian Amazon. Motivated by economic drivers, different groups of agents promote the conversion of forests into other land uses, causing a reduction in forest cover and an increase in forest fragmentation, edge effect, and forest flammability. These effects are magnified by climate change, causing a decrease in biodiversity.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Through the structuring of the Açaí value chain and the FSC certification for non-timber forest products and Ecosystem Services, AMAZONBAI and its collaboration network is contributing to the maintenance of the traditional lifestyle of local communities from Amazonas River mouth and so, forest cover. Today there are 52 communities involved and 87 certified producers. Together, these producers sold 157 tons of Açaí, generating an income of 55.490 € in the last 02 years. Thus, through the promotion of economic activity based on the sustainable use of forest resources, this unique initiative in Brazil has been promoting the maintenance of biodiversity.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The usage of an internationally recognized certification standard such as FSC and a specific procedure (FSC-PRO-30-006) for the assessment of verified impacts over the biodiversity conservation is the main innovation of this initiative. Through it, specific monitoring criteria that involve remote sensing analysis with satellite images and field data from the inventory of different groups of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are used in order to verify positive impacts on biodiversity. AMAZONBAI is the first FSC certified community-based Açaí producer in the world and holds the first FSC certification for verified impacts over biodiversity in Brazil.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

AMAZONBAI works with a network of partners and collaborators such as The Terroá Institute, The Amazon Lutherie Workshop-School - Oela, The Interelos Institute, The University of Amapá - UEAP, The International Education Institute of Brazil - IIEB, The Bailique's Traditional Communities Association - ACTB, Amazonian Working Group - GTA, The Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification Institute - Imaflora, The Forest Stewardship Council in Brazil - FSC Brazil, and The German International Cooperation Agency GIZ.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

AMAZONBAI and its network of collaborators contribute to the maintenance of 2,350 ha of tropical forest cover, and the conservation of 17 species of mammals, 205 species of birds and 37 species of reptiles and amphibians. Conservation of forest cover occurs through the adoption of good forest management practices for non-timber forest products (Açaí), combined with the structuring of value chains and the generation of financial flows through certified product sales. Species are monitored through fauna inventories. In addition, AMAZONBAI initiative improves the life quality of 28 local communities from the Amazonas River mouth through direct income generation, technical assistance actions, and institutional strengthening. These parameters are measured through remote sensing analysis by satellite images, local field data related to fauna inventories and also through the records of the community cooperative and supporting organizations.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

An expansion strategy that encompasses the structuring of the Açaí value chain with the implementation of the FSC certification for Ecosystem Services focused on Biodiversity conservation is currently underway in the neighboring communities. The first target region is known as “Beira Amazônia”. The expansion will include an additional 1000 ha and 8 new communities.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

AMAZONBAI initiative generates value for a range of relevant stakeholders across the value chain, from the traditional communities themselves that directly benefit from its implementation to the final consumers, which can choose for a high-quality product with FSC social-environmental certification, the guarantee of origin and verified impacts on biodiversity. This initiative has true shared value among communities, by generating social empowerment, living wages, business education, good working conditions for the families. For the whole society, maintain forest cover and carbon stock for the common welfare.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

AMAZONBAI's business plan is structured on consolidating the Açaí value chain, creating new products, opening new markets and investing in technology and strategic marketing. According to its financial projections, the project is expecting to achieve the break-even point in 2022. A complete financial spreadsheet showing the projected costs and financial return expected from the sale of Açaí products over the next 03 years has been attached.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Task Force: José Rubens Gomes - President, Geová Alves - Vice President, Bruno B. Souza - Technical Coordinator, David Escaquete - Technical Coordinator, Yohana C. de Mello - Technical Analyst. Partner Institutions: ACTB, Terroá, Oela, Interelos, UEAP, IIEB, GTA, Imaflora, FSC Brazil, GIZ.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others
  • Article in the news
  • Word of mouth

12. Connection to Biodiversity: How does your project directly contributes to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity? Please share data to support your answer.

Biodiversity is maintained when habitats are sustained. The maintenance of habitats is achieved with the forest cover conservation. Forest cover persists when good territorial management and good management practices are in place. These conditions are achieved by valuing forest products and services. Through the FSC certification for Ecosystem Services, the communities of Bailique's Archipelago are able to keep their traditional lifestyle, managing the forest's native Açaí responsibly (not a monoculture, but native Açaí that grows in the rainforest). The certification also ensures a mechanism for verifying impacts on biodiversity, through independent third party audits. So far AMAZONBAI and its network of partners have been able to prove the maintenance of 2,350 ha of tropical forest cover, and the conservation of 17 species of mammals, 205 species of birds and 37 species of reptiles and amphibians. This data is corroborated by the attached monitoring and audit reports.

13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples that show how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.

Mr. Araújo, the smiling man on the front page of this profile, lives in the Arraiol community in Bailique's Archipelago. There he manages the native Açaí (not a monoculture, but native Açaí that grows in the rainforest), preserving the forest standing and ensuring the family income. The way in which he manages the forest is guided by the community protocol signed in 2013 and also by the FSC principles and criteria. Mr. Araújo and his family are guardians of the forest. As long as they are there, living in a traditional way, the forest will be standing and biodiversity will be maintained. However, for this cycle to be full, it is necessary to value the forest's products and services. Then comes the FSC certification for Ecosystem Services. The certification scheme adds value to the product and the AMAZONBAI brand, generating income alternatives compatible with forest conservation, the maintenance of the communities' traditional lifestyle and biodiversity conservation.

14. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?

There are several initiatives focused on biodiversity conservation or social benefits promotion in the Amazon. In the state of Amapá, similar initiatives from government agencies, civil society organizations, and the academy are operational. Greenpeace, for example, works by deploying solar panels. IPAM with territorial development. EMBRAPA with rural extension. UEAP with research activity in ecology. However, despite a number of existing initiatives, the forest continues to be felled and the native communities continue to be disrespected. This is to say that every single effort counts in the face of such a challenging problem. Our initiative differs from the others because of its innovative and robust methodological framework, anchored in a certification scheme capable of verifying the project impacts. Furthermore, it is supported by a community and autochthonous code of conduct agreed by the beneficiaries themselves and has the support of a qualified network of implementing partners.

15. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

The project has FSC certification for forest management and Ecosystem Services, a Sustainability certification label issued by the state government of Amapá and a Vegan certification label.

16. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Until now: Foundation or NGO grants: 63%; Earned income: 33%; Corporate contributions: 4%; The project break-even point is expected to be reached in 2022, by its own means, by earned income from Açaí sales. A complete financial spreadsheet showing the projected costs and financial return expected from the sale of Açaí products over the next 03 years has been attached.

17. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge? How would you invest the prize money to leverage your work?

The scaling plan for activities in the region is in progress and consists of expanding activities related to the structuring of the Açaí production chain with FSC certification for Ecosystem Services in a new territory close to 1000ha, known as Beira-Amazônia. At this moment, workshops are being held with the communities of this new territory to promote Bailique's business model. This map shows the projection of the actions in the territory: The award will help to consolidate the good image that the project has in the region, driving other communities to adhere to this conservationist business protocol. The prize money will help us to move more structuring efforts for this new territory and also to consolidate the Açaí value chain in Bailique's Archipelago.

18. Pitch-video (finalists only)

Evaluation results

10 evaluations so far


Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 40%

Maybe - 10%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 40%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 50%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 10%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 40%

4- Yes, I think so. - 60%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 60%

4- Yes, I think so. - 30%

3- Maybe. - 10%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 40%

4- Yes, I think so. - 10%

3- Maybe. - 50%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%


5 -Yes, absolutely! - 60%

4- Yes, I think so. - 20%

3- Maybe. - 20%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 70%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 30%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 85.7%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 100%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 28.6%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 71.4%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 85.7%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 14.3%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 40%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 60%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 80%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 60%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 40%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 40%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 20%

Other option - 0%

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Attachments (4)

AMAZONBAI Financial projection 2020-2023_v25Fev2020.xlsx

A complete financial spreadsheet showing the projected costs and financial return expected from the sale of Açaí products over the next 03 years has been attached.

Amazonbai in numbers.pdf

Physical and socioeconomic parameters

ESCD_Biodiversity_Bailique (ENG).pdf

Ecosystem Services Certification Document


Join the conversation:

Photo of Regina Massai

Aplaudo vivamente este proyecto porque involucra impacto ambiental y social positivo con mirada de largo plazo (sostenibilidad de comunidades haciendo un uso sostenible de sus recursos). Permite además que organizaciones/inversionistas de impacto se sumen, al poder contar con certificación que verifica estos impactos en el tiempo. Replicable y transferible. El video nos emociona. Felicitaciones!! a sus gestores y a las comunidades comprometidas con un desarrollo mas sostenible.

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