1- How does Chemyunion manage to collect and process natural actives from the Amazon to the national and international markets, in the face of these burning that we have seen on TV?
An interesting question, but difficult to be answered because when we talk about fires in the Amazon historically these fires occur annually in the Amazon, where there are several focus in the region. Interestingly this year there were more outbreaks and these burns occur, either by dryness, and spontaneous combustion because of the dry climate that provides these events, or by a practice considered even sustainable for the resident of the forest, the riverine or caboclo (from the miscegenation of Indian with white), which burns its land in this region, because it is with the ashes that the soil is enriched, because even though the forest soil is rich in trees, it is very poor soil for cultivation and The caboclo himself needs these ashes so that he can turn it into productive soil, because they live on subsistence crops. So, in this practice, which is ecological and even that makes the local people to settle in the forest and not migrate to other areas, there is also a possibility that there is a lack of control and cause a focus of burning.
The Amazon corresponds to 60% of the Brazilian territory. We are talking about 4,8 million square kilometers. For us to imagine that there will be a direct correlation between fire outbreaks and sources of supply we would have to assess that fire is occurring where sources are – and that is not the case. Given that it is such a large territory, it is possible to have these outbreaks throughout the Amazon and not necessarily compromising the crop of ingredients.
There is also this crop issue. Burning may be occurring at a time when the ingredient crop is not occurring. So I can have a raw material that is in a cycle where the harvest, for example from October to February, in the summer of the region – the burns occur in the winter – would not be affected, because purchases, supplies have already been made. , as well as stocks, and this does not correlate with supply conditions or material availability to be able to manufacture products.
We also have to bear in mind that the sustainability-driven models that organize these chains are made involving multiple people from a particular community, association or cooperative. When we group these families together, there is no characterization of 100% of the people involved, so you have different areas distributed over a much larger area. So you have each one on your piece of land and spread out in a certain region. Then we would also have to admit that in an extreme condition, the fire would have to be caught in all regions, in all areas and in all families. And not all families are listed. Moreover, when the system is based on sustainable practice, be it extractive or corrupt, there is actually a Management Plan that states that, from the areas that will be explored, to an area of extraction, two are at rest. . So the events we saw on television are part of a regional dynamic. Of course this year has been exacerbated by an increase in these burns, but they have no direct bearing on the source of ingredients, for example in the specific case of Chemyunion, where it collects, buys and withdraws its ingredients. There are even cases where the plant is grown here inside Chemyunion and therefore there is no exposure to this risk of not having the product, not being able to supply it. But it does make sense and it is interesting to note that there is no direct correlation between the two events.
2 – Are the collection and the seed pickers areas protected? In what way?
This is another complex issue. There is an understanding in the environmentalist ambience that protection did not work. The protectionist systems that turned the forest into untouchable failed. So if we take the protective measure on the concept that untouchability is the basis of conservation, this model is already proven not to work because while we said the forest was untouched, it was being cut down. Whether by overexploitation of wood or by expanding plantation, pasture areas, what we discovered throughout the postwar period up to some 20 years ago is that this model does not work. So protecting is not the way to make the forest stand up. What we need is to make the forest stand, from the value that is generated from it and there conservationist measures, that is, working in conservation is what has proven to be the most effective model of making the Forest stand. Conservation, for example, will advocate parks, which are used for visitation, which generates revenue and maintenance. So that landscape of huge parks has tourism potential, it has an economic value, because people pay to visit them, as in other countries, since such areas have a utility and a value. So the standing forest means value. Protection in this sense does not make development or sustainability viable and does not help to conserve the forest. So I think so, but they should be protected through the use that generates value and not through the untouchability of things.
3 – Can the domestic and international markets feel confident that the supply of certain actives will be maintained and continuous?
If the question goes directly to Chemyunion, yes. Quite tranquile. Because we, in addition to having stocks of raw materials, finished products, we have some of the sources we control vertically, ie from planting to extraction. Therefore we have all the conditions to keep the market supplied.
4 – The FSC certification model, for example, need not be adjusted, considering the burning in different places and reaching roads, paths and losses of nature?
There are several concepts there. Let’s try to organize. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) emerged from a process that took place in the timber industry in Europe, which was logging and trying to sell the idea that logging was sustainable. So there were several European logging plans for every person who had locksmiths, carpenters or that bought that wood. A seal was then created certifying that such and such woods were sustainable. The fact is that these seals spread throughout Europe and it was realized that there would be a difficulty later, because of so many different seals and criteria, and that it would not be possible to know whether the practices were actually being sustainable or not. So it is decided to abandon, each one its seal, form a Council and that Council create a criterion of sustainability. It is good to remember that the sustainability criterion was released in a report called Our Common Future from 1986. This report gives for the first time the basis that yes, we need to preserve current resources for future generations. The Chinese like to say that we do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children.
So in this concept it is created for the forst time a triangle that is the ecologically correct, socially fair, economically viable, when FSC created its ten basic criteria of sustainability. First he was born very related to the wood industry. What this means is that there is a Forest Stewardship Plan, where trees are not cut, they are harvested, and where they are harvested, there are other trees growing, just as they are in the management of cultivated areas. In the forest areas also management is done, where only certain trees are extracted, others are left, so that while some are being extracted, others are growing and so you make the sustainability design. We have two other axes that is being environmentally friendly, which is the way, through the responsible management process, then we will have the socially fair aspect, that is, if you are interacting with the community that has access to a particular species or that you have learned and accessed the traditional knowledge associated with that species from contact with that community, it is only fair that that community participates economically in this process. So the axes mentioned are adjusting and the socially fair presupposes that an organization trains, even explains to communities what sustainability is, because sustainability is a civilizing concept, which society created from an understanding of the need for preservation but who is doing it. This process is the other, which lives in the forest and does not have our reading of the city, organized, structured society, looking at that place that would need to be preserved and preserved.
When we talk about sustainability, they have criteria, organize and credit, in the sense to give credit to certain companies that will be their representatives and based on the criteria created by the FSC they will audit companies that voluntarily forwarded or requested or have developed sustainable systems so that these systems are audited against the FSC criteria. The FSC has even evolved to non-wood models, they already have criteria for it. But they only create criteria and believe consulting firms that can then audit if the criteria are within those concepts and if the criterion meets, the FSC issues a certificate and it certifies not only the squad, but the logistics chain, which is chain of custody call and this certification gets a number. Through this number, on the FSC website is Smart Wood, because this is a stamp credited by FSC, a COC, which means Custody of Chain, just in front of that stamp is another number and this other number is the chain of custody number. If you access this number, you can verify the full traceability of the chain from the point of consumption to its origin in the forest. But FSC is only limited to this area, it does not connect with other impacts that are posed in your question, such as roads. This is not about the FSC.
5 – There will be time for the recovery of forest burned areas. Does this also mean that some of the products produced with region´s actives will need time to be harvested and processed again?
No, it’s so spreaded. We have no news of any active being impacted by these fires. Again we have to remember that we are talking about 61% of the Brazilian territory, we are talking about 8 million square meters. If we do a quick account, 4 million 800,000 square kilometers and within that, a lot could have happened to multiple fire focus, but there are no reports, at least directly impacting Chemyunion and so of course recovery will be made and there are even entities and NGOs organizing to take care of this in eco-regions. In these eco-regions WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and a number of Brazilian NGOs are engaged in this process, as well as the government itself, which has been encouraging and putting the army itself to deal with these fires. For us the impacts are close to zero.
6 – Has CGEN imposed restrictions on the trading of certain assets after these facts?
No, there is no restriction of CEGEN, which has no such regulatory aspect. It controls access to genetic heritage, is not related to sustainability. Chemyunion, for example, can access genetic heritage because it is planting and it is not even in the forest. But it is a species that we need to report because we are accessing genetic heritage. So there is no pertinence for CGEN to carry out any kind of restriction in this regard.
7 – Does the agency have the autonomy to enforce legislation that protects the Amazon while encouraging more sustainable agriculture and development?
No, this is not his role either. CEGEN’s role is regulatory from the point of view of access to genetic heritage and associated traditional knowledge. What it seeks in essence is that if you have been in contact with a community in the Amazon that has said that a particular plant serves to cure stomach pain, you are accessing the associated traditional knowledge. A more practical example of this is chimarrão, in gaucho culture. It derives from the Indians. When the Indians were being used as labor, and consumed a lot of meat, which is a diet they were not used to, they had digestive difficulties. The priests noticed that they made a tea and took it and then discovered that mate was this tea that they had and that helped the digestion of the meat and this has become a collective habit. So this is associated traditional knowledge. The question to ask about the basis of the creation of CEGEN was to think: if someone from scratch would have to research all the herbs to discover this effect, how long would it take and how much would it spend? The finger prints, the bills, roughly, were like this: I would spend 10 years and spend $ 1 million and if that had really happened, I would have saved R$ 1 million and 10 years of time in my research. And so it is only fair that I share the gain I am having with the one who gave me this knowledge. So when you go to a bazaar or a market that offers you those roots, those more natural treatments, you are just gaining access to the associated traditional knowledge. When you extract that asset that makes the effect, you have access to the genetic heritage. So what CEGEN regulates is these two bases and has no connection with sustainability. Of course, companies that are using and developing these assets are doing it sustainably, but sustainability is the responsibility of those who will exploit the species and not the responsibility of CEGEN, which has no control over it. Only whether or not you are accessing the associated traditional knowledge or genetic heritage of a particular species and then the agency has all the criteria that are in the legislation.
8 – By regulating access to biodiversity at this moment, wouldn´t be a way for CGEN to protect the forest?
There is no such relation. CEGEN does not do this. It is not CEGEN’s role, to protect. We need to understand – and I will insist at this point – that protection is sometimes not even for the innocent. It is exposure to the world that makes you stronger, more resilient to it. When we read the Little Red Riding Hood or the John and Mary stories, what makes John and Mary enter the witch’s house is innocence. This idea that we are protected and then you go there and find the witch. Innocence does not protect us. And this role is not only a role of the state, because we are imagining that the Brazilian state would also be able to offer protection, but it is broken. It is in little condition to offer any such order. What we have already discovered is that every time the state tried to do that, it didn’t work out. Because it would have to mobilize a huge amount of resources. Imagine, it is almost 5 million square meters how to execute a protectionist plan of this size, of this order.
So this vision that these institutions exist to protect is a somewhat conservative view, of what is more modern to think today, that actually, the responsible use of the good, preserves it, keep it, and therefore Its exposure, not its protection, is what makes it functional. Another example that we can look at in this public view is the case of real estate in downtown São Paulo. It is understood that every time we opened these properties and were able to generate a museum, we create an utility for it, the areas where these properties were installed became more valued and the properties more conserved. Then there is this role of CEGEN. Perhaps the body that could do this would be IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), which could make environmental decisions. But it is other institutions that are related to the Ministry of Environment that would have this responsibility. The Ministry of Environment itself could also make some kind of decision, but as everyone understands that these are transitory issues, this phase has passed, there is a stability in the number of fire outbreaks and life goes to a more regular and normal point.