First investments for Mirova’s Brazilian Strategy
15 April 2021, London, UK – Mirova announces today the closing of two new deals for its specialised investment fund dedicated to restoring biodiversity in the Brazilian Amazon.
The risks and challenges of working in the Amazon have precluded most impact investors from expanding into this region, and specifically into sustainably managed agroforestry, farming, buffer-zones of protected areas and biodiversity-friendly initiatives, thus far. As part of its natural capital investing activity, Mirova has launched a strategy aiming to overcome these inherent challenges by providing venture and growth finance for transformational businesses that have a positive impact on biodiversity and communities in the Amazon.
“We’re very proud to have invested in two innovative and mission-driven companies that place biodiversity protection and community empowerment at the heart of their business models. Although we have been investing in natural capital in the Amazon for five years, these first two investments from our Brazilian strategy are exciting and innovative for us and the wider impact ecosystem. They will be the first of many, helping fill the biodiversity impact funding gap in Amazonia for earlier stage businesses, projects and entrepreneur,” says Nick Oakes, Investment Director of Mirova’s Brazilian strategy.
Mirova has selected Manioca Comercio de Alimentos da Amazônia Ltda. (Manioca), a Brazilian company selling consumer food and beverage products derived from native Amazonian products, as its first investment. Manioca aims to show that food products based on sustainably grown Amazonian ingredients can become part of regular food consumption in both Brazil and abroad. As part of a new generation of sustainable businesses changing the way the Amazon is seen and valued, the company operates a “connect and translate” approach - connecting consumers to fruits and species from the Amazon biodiversity and transforming them into products that the end user can easily incorporate into their daily diets.
The funding will help further the consumption of sustainably sourced Amazonian food products in Brazil and internationally, boost value and recognition of sustainable production of Amazonian biodiversity as a viable livelihood strategy for families living in around the Amazon, reduce land degradation and pressure on forests while contributing to biodiversity conservation, carbon emissions reductions and livelihood improvement for local smallholders.
“We are very happy with this important step for Manioca. The resources invested by Mirova will give us the ability to invest in new products, increase our production and thus take the flavours of the Amazon to all of Brazil, and perhaps even to the world, always in natural, delicious and increasingly practical ways. The investment will also help us to reinforce our sustainable performance in the region, valuing the forest and our producers. Thus, we have found an investor not only aligned with our business, but also with the impact that we generate in the Amazon, giving us even more strength to achieve our vision,” said Paulo dos Reis, Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Manioca.
Mirova’s second investment was made into Horta da Terra Ltd. (Horta), a vertically integrated business in the state of Pará selling freeze-dried Amazonian products – fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens - grown using regenerative agriculture systems in collaboration with surrounding native communities. Supply chains for organic, syntropic agriculture have typically been poorly organised with weak suppliers, leaving more space for conventional production that fails to consider biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Horta da Terra proposes a solution able to grow produce in harmony with local ecosystems, helping them to regenerate and strengthen and to ultimately provide a superior quality product.
The investment into Horta will help scale up the organic, syntropic agricultural production in the Amazon biome; supporting biodiversity conservation by avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; reducing pressure on land and forests; regenerating degraded lands; and reducing carbon emissions. The funding will support the creation of 150 new jobs and sustainable livelihoods for smallholder producers of the region.
“We are very happy with this partnership. By sharing this journey of transforming the way of doing sustainable business in the Amazon, we are stronger and more motivated to deliver even more positive impact on the development of the Amazon biome. Mirova's investment will accelerate the business model of Horta da Terra, giving access to any person on the planet to the nutritional, functional and medicinal powers of Amazonian plants,” said Bruno Kato, Co-Founder and CEO of Horta da Terra.