Guayaki Yerba Mate, a pioneer and leader in the yerba mate beverage category, will be highlighted as part of the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Guayaki was selected from a pool of candidates as a company with an extraordinary approach to addressing challenges in economic empowerment and deforestation. The company's Market Driven Restoration business model will be noted during a special session on investing in the world's forests.
Guayaki Yerba Mate pioneered an innovative business model that directly links consumer purchases of rainforest-grown yerba mate 'tea' to partner farming communities in the South American Atlantic Rainforest. These communities sustainably harvest organic, fair-trade certified yerba mate from rainforest-grown cultivations and reforestation projects, generating a renewable income stream and enabling the communities to steward their lands. Through Market Driven Restoration, Guayaki Yerba Mate is demonstrating that a for-profit company can drive sustainable and scalable environmental and social change.
Rainforests are among the most bio-diverse and productive ecosystems on the earth, yet they are being destroyed at alarming rates. One of the leading causes of deforestation is commercial agriculture, including commercial yerba mate. However, yerba mate natively grows beneath the rainforest canopy, which means that shade-grown organic yerba mate can be utilized as an economic driver for sustaining the rainforest. Guayaki's commitment to partner with indigenous landowners creates a market-based system for protecting rainforest. At the same time, this model creates a learning-based enterprise enabling the local community to learn the technical skills necessary to thrive.
'By creating a profitable economic model, the community funds forest management and engages in strong governance systems so that all parties can thrive in a bio-diverse and culturally-diverse world. Importantly, this model can be shared and duplicated in communities around the world so that these systems can be scaled effectively,' said Chris Mann, chief executive officer for Guayaki Yerba Mate.
'We're thrilled and humbled to be part of CGI as one of the only for-profit companies, and hope this is just one additional step toward accomplishing our stated mission of restoring 200,000 acres of rainforest and creating 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020.'
A Commitment to Go Further
As part of CGI, Guayaki committed to implement its proven Market-Driven Restoration model in a new partnership with the Marrecas indigenous community in Brazil. This commitment will establish an ecosystem services-based business that will provide a sustainable livelihood for 250 indigenous families and sustain and restore 40,000 acres of Atlantic Rainforest.
The initial economic driver will be the sustainable harvest and sale of organic, rainforest-grown yerba mate, a rainforest tree with leaves that are brewed much like tea or coffee. To fulfill this commitment, Guayaki will assist the Marrecas indigenous community to produce a detailed management plan with specific environmental and social goals that are created by the community and managed together with Guayaki. Additionally, Guayaki will partner with universities in the U.S. and abroad to launch Sustainability Education campaigns based upon this model.
Based in Sebastopol, California, Guayaki is a pioneer and leader in the yerba mate category dedicated to restoring the environment and driving social change. Guayaki's organic, fair-trade certified yerba mate beverages contain a wealth of nutrients and naturally stimulate the mind and body. Guayaki believes in Market Driven Restoration, through which people who purchase Guayaki Yerba Mate beverages drive the restoration of the rainforest. Products are available at nearly 10,000 retailers nationwide and at the company's Web site, www.Guayaki.com.
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.