Mercado Livre, the leading e-commerce and financial services company in Latin America, has announced an investment of more than US$ 10 million in Regenera América, a program that supports environmental conservation and regeneration initiatives in the main Latin American biomes. In the first contribution of 2022, four projects will receive investment in Brazil, and, for the first time, the program will arrive in Mexico. In all, US$ 18 million will be invested in the region, of which US$ 8 million was applied last year.
Regenera América is one of the main initiatives for Mercado Livre's environmental strategy, which invests an amount proportional to its carbon footprint in projects that generate future credits. Launched in 2021, the program encourages conservation and regeneration, implementing projects with a positive and long-term impact, contributing to the preservation of biodiversity and generating income for local communities. Among the actions is payment for environmental services for small farmers. While generating work and income for families, the carbon credits produced can be sold and the money reinvested, creating a virtuous socio-economic cycle.
In 2022, in addition to expanding investment in one of the projects supported last year, Regenera América will invest resources in three new initiatives on Brazilian soil. In addition to promoting the regeneration of the Atlantic Forest, the most degraded biome in Brazil, the program will finance a pilot project in the Amazon biome, one of the most important and threatened in the country. “When combined with actions for effective emission reductions, which we have also done, regeneration is one of the most efficient ways to tackle climate change. Not only because ecosystems are natural carbon sinks, but also because they contribute to the mitigation of climate risks and the preservation of biodiversity in the region”, highlights Guadalupe Marín, Regional Director of Sustainability at Mercado Libre.
Conservation and regeneration initiatives are considered an effective way to tackle climate change, as they increase the capture and storage of carbon from the atmosphere. In addition, these initiatives provide a variety of vital ecosystem services, such as clean air, clean water, healthy soils, food and raw materials, among others. “We are working in partnership with environmental organizations, producers and local communities to offer concrete solutions for the climate agenda. We chose to work with local communities so they too benefit from this process and can be remunerated for the environmental service they provide, fostering the creation of new production and forest restoration chains, which will be increasingly essential in this century”, explains Guadalupe Marín.
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Mercado Libre to originate new forest restoration and conservation projects throughout Latin America. Last year, we began with a single project, restoring 250 hectares of land in Brazil. This year, we'll be partnering on five projects in total, in which we will protect and restore 3,300 hectares of land and over 3 million trees across Brazil and Mexico. These projects will have a meaningful impact on the local communities, wildlife and our climate, impacts that we’ll be measuring consistently over the years. We’re honored to partner with leaders like Mercado Libre to restore nature, using technology at every step along the way”, says Diego Saez Gil, Co-Founder & CEO at Pachama.
The projects in detail
Starting in Brazil in 2021, Regenera América has already supported two Atlantic Forest restoration projects: Conservador da Mantiqueira, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Corredores de Vida, implemented by the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ). Together, the initiatives are regenerating more than 2,900 hectares of Atlantic Forest, the equivalent of 7 million trees that, over 25 years, will sequester more than 700,000 tons of carbon. This year, Corredores de Vida will receive a new contribution, which will allow the restoration of 50 more hectares of the biome in the state of São Paulo, with the planting of more than 100,000 native plants.
The other three Brazilian projects will receive investments in 2022. The first is the Corredor Pau Brasil, in southern Bahia, through which Regenera América will restore 70 hectares of Atlantic Forest by planting native trees. The initiative, developed by the NGO Natureza Bela, will be implemented in partnership with landowners to regenerate the mandatory 20% of Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Areas on their properties.
In addition to strengthening biodiversity and local conservation processes, Regenera América will contribute to generating local income by creating an ecological corridor between the Monte Pascoal and Pau Brasil national parks. In all, 116,000 seedlings will be planted, many of them endemic and endangered species. The region is inhabited by indigenous peoples, who will also contribute to the project through a seedling planting cooperative.
The Águas do Rio project, in Rio de Janeiro, is the result of a partnership with the Instituto Terra de Preservação Ambiental (ITPA), which will restore another 70 hectares of Atlantic Forest. The project aims to create an ecological corridor between the Tinguá Biological Reserve and the Parque National Park of Serra da Bocaina. In addition to contributing to conservation and income generation, the initiative will protect watersheds that supply one of the most populous regions in Brazil.
Located in the state of Amazonas, the Café Apuí project enables income generation and preservation initiatives in the Amazon based on the promotion of agroforestry production systems. Carried out in partnership with Idesam, the project will benefit around 30 local family producers through the planting of agroforestry coffee, combining high quality and preservation.
In this new round of investments, the program also arrives in Mexico, where it will support the restoration of 3,100 hectares of the Apan Plains, located in the state of Hidalgo. The planting of 120,000 trees and soil reclamation activities will help prevent the escalation of erosion that is affecting the health of the aquifer. In addition to environmental education, the project will create sustainable sources of income for local communities through training in the production of honey, agave and regenerative pasture.
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