Before going on my Latin American trip this past march, I met in Paris with Vincent Rabaron, manager at Pur Projet, a company founded by Tristan Lecomte after his first venture with Altereco. Soon after, it turned out there was a reforestation project we would be able to work on together, which could be leveraged both for one of their clients (L’Oréal) and Climate Heroes, the NGO and photography/video advocacy project I founded and have been running for the past 5 years.
I was in Mexico then, diving on the reefs of Cozumel, the second largest marine reef in the world after the Great Barrier in Australia, and therefore planned a trip to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. There, I would film and photograph the work of Neuza, the Brazilian founder of Nordesta Brazil, an NGO working on a seed bank, shoot nursery and reforestation projects with local coffee plantation owners in the area.
Protecting the Mata Atlantica
After years of cutting trees down to grow coffee, most often without any agreement from the government, those land owners were sometimes incentivized, but often obliged, to plant new trees in order to restore the Mata Atlantica, a unique forest ecosystem that progressively had disappeared year after year under the pressure of agriculture and coffee, or soy plantations.
A change of paradigm
On the other hand, some companies had also started to realize that they should not just compensate for the carbon emissions of their activities after the fact, but also protect those ecosystems that are the basis of their value chain, upstream of their business activities. In doing so, they would at the same time ensure a more stable environment for their activities, while doing good for the planet.
Trees and forests are one of the most important elements of ecosystems. By protecting them, or replanting deforested areas, this does not only help Climate Change, a topic close to my heart with the Climate Heroes project, but also ensures a sustainable base for any business activity that can benefit from healthier forests and a better environment. After all, if you rely on papaya for your activities and if all trees producing papaya were suddenly taken down by a landslide, because of eroded deforested slopes, this would mean the end of your business there, wouldn’t it? Companies progressively start to realize this, and with the help of Pur Projet, support local reforestation or conservation initiatives such as the ones Nordesta are facilitating in Brazil.
L’Oréal wanted to support the program by financing the plantation of a large amount of trees, and wanted to illustrate this and the activities of Nordesta through a movie and photographs showing the diversity of the ecosystem around Arcos and the São Francisco River, as well as how local producers could benefit from protecting their environment.
Meet Neuza and Rodrigo, founders of Nordesta in Arcos
I had the pleasure of meeting Neuza Falco, the founder of Nordesta, along with her husband Rodrigo, and all of their co-workers. The filming lasted 3 days, and was quite intense, as we needed to capture environmental views of the surroundings to explain the benefits of their action there, as well as interview several of the local coffee producers that were partners in the reforestation projects carried out by Nordesta.
Below are a few more portraits and photos done during this short stay with them. I hope you enjoy them!
Have you ever volunteered at or visited a tree nursery, or even planted a tree? What do you think about this concept of compensating impacts and carbon emissions upstream of a business activity?