Making Business Sense Out of Planting Trees in Brazil

At the Guapuruvu site you buy a shirt and get a tree Guapuruvu is the name of a gigantic tree originated in Brazil. It grows fast so it is recommended for devastated areas. The tree loses all the leaves in the winter, covering itself with beautiful yellow flowers in the spring. In the summer it has plenty of green leaves.

It is a star, it never goes unnoticed, because of its size and colors, and it inspired the name of an engineering and environment consulting company, which is creating logos paid with trees. What?

The Design of Good was inaugurated in the website of the company by the end of 2006 and it is part of the program Path of Good. The idea is to work towards environment awareness and collaborate with replanting devastated areas.

The creation of logos would cost around 5,000 reais (US$ 2,420) in the market and in this program the client pays with trees. Guapuruvu's tree currency rate today is worth 69 reais (US$ 33).

The logos are created by designer Márcio PXE and other guest designers. So far, the program has created five logos, earning 35 trees. The company offers certificates and regular reports on the development of the trees planted as payment, as a way to keep the client involved with follow up.

They are getting a space with the Coordination of Environment Recovery in Rio, says Márcio and Luis Paulo Alves, another environment engineer. Together, they created the company in 2005.

Among the regular activities of the company, are the elaboration of studies of environment impact and forest inventories. They also say that Brazil should invest in forests, which generate five times more jobs and wealth than cattle breeding. An example to be followed. One good idea reaches millions

Roberto Smeraldi, 44, a Brazilian environmentalist, founder of the NGO "Friends of the Earth," is another example of how we can get seriously involved in the job of contributing to save the planet and how economic forces and politics can intertwine to speed up the process.

Smeraldi learned how to speak the language of bankers and convinced them to create a new rule that conditions the release of funding only to companies that can show they have environmental responsibility.

The first bank to join in was ABN-AMRO, followed by Bradesco, Itaú and Unibanco. Smeraldi convinced them to follow an international protocol, which makes financial institutions co-responsible for environmental disasters involving companies financed by them. This way Smeraldi was able to use the banks help to reach big companies responsible for pollution.

Last year, Banco Real, which had US$ 1.45 billion for financing hydroelectric plants, transmission lines, gas lines and such, denied two requests for funding because they failed to comply with the new environment friendly rules.

HSBC in Brazil has denied seven applications for funding. And Smeraldi explains: "Bad drivers pay higher car insurance fees than good drivers. We want to create similar criteria to be used with companies that cause environmental damage."

Good job. Reaching for the pockets works like a charm. Nothing could be more effective to get companies to invest in environmental protection.

Clara Angelica Porto is a Brazilian bilingual journalist living in New York.  She went to school in Brazil and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  Clara is presently working as the English writer for The Brasilians, a monthly newspaper in Manhattan.  Comments welcome at


  • Show Comments (4)

  • aes

    CHC: U.S. Tax Law
    When you own a corporation and you file your income tax there are what are called deductions. One of the allowed deductions, which include cost of goods, depreciation, is donations to charity.

    You add up the total deductions and sutract that from the Gross Profit which is called the Net Profit.

    It is upon the Net Profit that the corporation or individual pays taxes on.

    One of the items that are allowed by tax law is donations to charitible organizations. A certain percentage of revenues is allowed to this purpose.

    Once again, if you do not donate this money to charities, you pay Federal Taxes on the money.

    My suggestion was to encourage corporations to engage in the reforestation of the ‘Amazon charity’.

    I think it is a profoundly good idea and I think that this project has merit, economically and ecologically.

    I think the project would be well received by corporate America et al.

    It is not about giving more, but giving it to this project.

  • ch.c.

    if they do not donate money to charity they have to pay taxes on it !!!!!!
    Funny at times how stupid you are…AES !

    The U.S.corporations are the ones who donate to charity …….THE MOST…of all the world corporations !!!!!
    Better yet…..they also pay taxes !

    Here are simple facts for 2005 concerning the USA charity donations :
    – Individuals contributed about $199 billion, or 76.5 percent of total giving. Americans thus donated 2.2 percent of their average disposable (after-tax) income
    – Corporate contributions rose 22.5 percent from the previous year, to an estimated $13.77 billion, a figure representing 5.3 percent of total donations.
    – Other major categories include foundation grants ($30 billion, 11.5 percent of the total) and charitable bequests ($17.44 billion, 6.7 percent).

    If you know someone giving more…..please publish it here and worldwide !!!!!!

  • forrest allen brown

    Action is the foundational key to all success.
    pass a law if you cut 1 you plant 2.
    enforce the the law

    and not of just the fast growing trees plant what you cut

    go to Breves on the river between Belem and Amapa look at all the trees that have been cut make the wood mills pay a planting tax .
    À‚ À‚ which would spur job growth , and replant the forest ,
    start nursery of small trees another industry which would create more jobs .
    a small home grown business of counting what type of trees that need to be replanted .

    Go to the wood companies and the wood export companies ask for donations as you would be saving there business later down the road .

    sell to green peace the more Exocet trees to replant and place a name on the tree of the person that paid to have it planted take the GPS numbers and people could watch there tree grow on google earth .

    The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago… had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.

  • aes

    Globally market the reforrestation of Brazil
    The effort should be taken to the U.S. Especially Hollywood and the Green Culture so manifest there. National companies would get on board, a chance to rebuild the perceived ‘amazon’ at little cost and great public profile. Their should be a ‘mass mailing’ of the idea, the idea should be presented to every major company in the U.S., if they do not donate money to charity they have to pay taxes on it. It is better publicity to be part of the reforrestation of Brazil than not.
    Green is in vogue now, it is time to sell this idea to every global critic of Brazil’s maintenance of its ecology.

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