Natura reduces GHG emissions by a third
In 2006, Natura generated the equivalent of 4.18 kg de CO2 for each kilogram of product invoiced. By 2013, this rate had been reduced by 33.2%, reaching 2.79 kg of CO2e/kilogram of product invoiced. With this reduction, the company honored the commitment assumed in 2007 to reduce its carbon emissions by one third throughout the product life cycle – from the extraction of raw materials through the disposal of packaging by consumers.
Relative CO2 emissions
(kgCO2e/kg of product invoiced)
Absolute CO2 emissions
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Emissions in production chain
This is an example of how an environmental challenge may be overcome when it is incorporated into a company's strategic planning and decision making processes. The challenge of reducing emissions led to a series of innovations and generated a great deal of learning for Natura. Launched in 2007 as a framework for reduction initiatives, the Carbon Neutral program led to the creation of a management system for every stage in the product development, manufacture and commercialization process.
“When we assumed this commitment, unheard of in Brazil, we initiated a transformation in business management. We conducted an emissions inventory throughout the value chain, working with the people involved at every stage and with suppliers, the aim being to identify potential reductions”, says Sustainability director Denise Alves.
The measures included the reduction of the format and number of pages in the Natura magazine; the creation of new box sizes for product deliveries to NCs; increased vegetalization in product formulas; and the incorporation of new packaging materials and ecodesign solutions to reduce environmental impact.
Through these major and minor changes, the company has learned more about impact reduction. Today, carbon emission management has been incorporated throughout the business and influences strategy in other important environmental areas such as social biodiversity, water and waste.
“For over seven years we have been engaged in the voluntary reduction and offsetting not only of Natura’s direct emissions, but also those of our entire production chain, and this is one of our program's core differentials”, Sustainability manager Keyvan Macedo explains.
From 2010, product development was aided by the introduction of a carbon calculator, which provides an excellent example of how the challenge of reducing emissions can generate innovation. The Sou sub-brand launched in 2013 generates significant sales volume and represents Natura's lowest relative carbon emissions.
“Natura is an example of how it is possible to produce at scale while controlling CO2 emissions, based on investment in alternatives that reduce carbon footprint and add value in sustainable production chains. We hope the company continues on this course”, states André Nahur, interim coordinator of WWF-Brazil's Climate Change Program.
Having fulfilled its target, Natura will continue to invest in innovation and eco-efficiency and is aiming fora further 33% reduction in relative emissions by 2020, against base year 2012. This time the challenge will be even greater and will require more than has been done so far, given the company's growth plans for the coming years. But the organization’s accumulated learning will be of help in developing new measures to reduce environmental impact.
See more about Natura’s 2020 ambitions, here.
Indigenous carbon credits
In addition to working on reducing carbon emissions, Natura assumed the commitment to offsetall the emissions it is unable to avoid by buying carbon credits. In this market, companies or organizations that undertake projects to avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sequester these gases from the atmosphere are compensated via the sale of credits generated in accordance with the reduction achieved.
In accordance with its beliefs, Natura restricts the acquisition of credits to projects that generate social as well as environmental benefits.
In 2013, this led to an unprecedented initiative worldwide: the acquisition of carbon credits from an indigenous community. The transaction involved 170,000 credits negotiated with the Paiter Suruí people in the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso.
The credits from the indigenous community are related to reforestation and forestry conservation (maintenance of carbon stocks sequestered by the vegetation) measures. This project is the first ever involving an indigenous community classified as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
The transaction was approved by the Brazilian Indian Foundation Funaiand the Federal Public Prosecution Ministry. The funds received by the Suruí people will be invested in a management plan to improve quality of life for community members and to enhance forest stewardship and protection practices in the region. “Development is only possible when people adopt a medium to long-term viewpoint. Future generations have a right to life and a right to the forest. The forest does not need to remain untouched, but it must be used responsibly”, says community leader, Almir Suruí.
Project tests use of electric vehicles for logistics
Among other innovations, in 2013Natura initiated a project to deliver orders using electric vehicles. The initiative involves 15 vehicles, including vans, tricycles and bicycles which are undergoing tests in deliveries to consultants in Campinas (São Paulo), Rio de Janeiro, São Pauloand Curitiba (Paraná).
“The number is limited, but this initiative will enable us to assess the potential to use these vehicles in logistics. If they prove to be feasible, this could be a significant alternative for mobility in large urban centers”, says Customer Services director, Ricardo Faucon.
The electric van, for example, substitutes a gasoline-powered model resulting in a reduction of up to 85% in CO2e emissions. Three electric bicycles or one electric tricyclecan do the work done by one car which consumes 200 liters of fuel a month, resulting in an emissions reduction of up to 98%. “The electric bicycles and tricycles were considered to be excellent alternatives to increase fleet capillarity, offering greater speed and efficiency for small deliveries in regions with a large number of orders and difficult parking conditions. The vans are used to deliver larger packages”, Faucon adds.
Unprecedented in the country, the initiative will only be viable in partnership with other companies engaged in promoting transportation alternatives. The vans used in Rio de Janeiro are part of a global FedEx project. “This is the result of a growing demand from sustainability-oriented companies that are beginning to pressure suppliers for solutions. Natura was one of the clients that consulted us about the possibility of introducing electric vehicles in our operations, which is the reason we were able to bring them to Brazil for tests”, says FedEx Marketing director, Guilherme Gatti.
In Campinas, the sustainable car was supplied by the energy company CPFL as part of its program to foment the use of electric vehicles. “This is one of our innovation priorities, and we wanted to find partners who had the same level of interest in sustainability and innovation to leverage the initiative,” Rafael Lazzaretti, CPFL Innovation manager explains. In exchange for the use of the vehicle and the charging stations, the company receives data from Natura on the vehicle's work routines. “This information helps us to understand how this technology is being received by society and what we,as an energy supplier,should do to enter this segment”, Rafael concludes.
Logistics account for 15% of Natura’s total CO2e emissions. Over the last two years, the company has gained experience with lower impact transportation alternatives. In 2013, in addition to electric vehicles, the company started to use an ethanol-powered bus for employee transportation. Natura was also a pioneer in Latin America with its acquisition of the first two ethanol-powered truck trailers in the region, in partnership with Scania and Coopercarga. These vehicles emit up to 91% fewer GHG than similar diesel-powered vehicles. In 2012, Natura had already converted its executive and sales force fleet to flexible fuel vehicles, with fuel cards that can only be used to buy ethanol.