The history of Fundo Vale goes hand in hand with the development and strengthening of the social and environmental impact business ecosystem, focusing on a sustainable, fair and inclusive economy. Created in 2009 and present in the Amazon since 2010, we are now celebrating 14 years of fostering sustainability. Between 2009 and 2022, we invested more than R$269 million, supported 105 projects and accelerated 324 positive social and environmental impact businesses.
There have been many achievements and challenges along the way. Created and sponsored by Vale as a vehicle for private social investment, we operate in a context in which positive social and environmental impacts are no longer merely an aspiration but crucial for the existence of businesses.
We believe in collaborative models through partnerships and we devise interconnected strategies, linking environmental, social and financial results. More than just doing business, we want to impact lives. We are made up of people, forming a network that integrates innovative solutions to preserve, value and regenerate forests. We believe in truly changing the world and we are building opportunities, driving ideas, connecting with the Earth, managing risks, mobilizing financial resources and developing mechanisms to measure these ambitions.
Pleased to meet you! We are Fundo Vale.
We exist to generate positive social and environmental impacts.
For us, transformation is collective!
Here is a summary of our journey so far:
Creation of Fundo Vale
Vale’s Sustainability Policy was launched and Fundo Vale was founded.
Start of operations, focusing on business promotion
To begin with, Fundo Vale focused on providing non-reimbursable financing for projects combining environmental public policies, forest conservation, monitoring and recovery, and the development of social and biological diversity production chains.
We started our work in the Amazon, at a time when illegal deforestation was at a historic low. The idea was to take advantage of this good moment to catalyze development. At the time, we worked with the traditional model of philanthropy, implementing three programs: Green Municipalities, Strategic Monitoring, and Protected Areas and Biodiversity.
2011 – 2016
Pioneering social and environmental initiatives
We developed pioneering initiatives, including to support more sustainable cattle ranching in the Amazon, agroforestry productive chains and systems, responsible forest management in conservation areas, extractive reserves and indigenous lands, as well as to accelerate community-based technology businesses with positive social and environmental impacts.
Notable initiatives include the Brazilian Origins Certification project (in partnership with Imaflora), the Xingu Seeds Network (in partnership with the Social and Environmental Institute) and the New Fields Program (with the Center of Life Institute). We supported several indigenous peoples, helping improve their income and quality of life. For example, we worked with the Suruí people, alongside NGOs Ecam and the Amazon Conservation Team, and in the Xingu Indigenous Park, together with the Social and Environmental Institute. We also worked with Forest Trends to develop a public policy in the state of Acre to pay indigenous peoples for environmental services. So, Fundo Vale has been supporting these types of initiatives, which are now becoming more prevalent, for some time.
We also provided resources to assist the institutional development of social and environmental organizations and to support local entrepreneurs and communities, projects and technologies, proofs of concept, public policies, forums for discussion and political coordination, the creation of governance models, and intersectoral dialogue.
In this period, we held meetings with partners and workshops, signed agreements, participated in networks and formed partnerships with research institutions, government bodies, NGOs and startups, combining conservation and environmental recovery with improvements in people’s quality of life through a new type of economy.
Closer links with the impact investing and business ecosystem
Through “Sustainable Business in the Amazon” workshops, held in Brasília and São Paulo, we began to connect the worlds of investing, impact businesses and environmental conservation.
We participated in and supported different knowledge production initiatives, learning communities and events, connecting with different stakeholders in these ecosystems and seeking to promote the sharing of experiences. These stakeholders included Impact Foundations and Institutes (FIIMP), Latimpacto, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and the Alliance for Impact Investing and Impact Businesses, in partnership with the Institute for Business Citizenship.
New ways of acting
Starting this year, we experimented with new ways of acting and encouraging initiatives. Among other things, we supported the Partners for the Amazon Platform’s Acceleration Program and the Social and Biological Diversity Product Logistics and Marketing Challenge, in partnership with Climate Ventures, in order to look for innovative solutions to logistics and commercial barriers. We also supported the creation of the Sustainable Connections Institute (Conexsus) and assisted its first initiative, the Conexsus Challenge (the first mapping exercise for community businesses in Brazil), as well as measures to strengthen the ecosystem of sustainable forestry and rural businesses.
Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal
Vale voluntarily undertook to protect and restore 500,000 hectares of forests outside its sites. Because of our 10 years of experience, the natural path was for us to actively participate in implementing Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal, one of the biggest voluntary habitat restoration initiatives under way in Brazil. We then created a strategy combining recovery and protection with a low-carbon economy. We took on the challenge of proposing an alternative approach to achieving this goal, through innovative commercial initiatives that help expand positive social and environmental impacts. Thus, in the goal’s restoration component, we are supporting and investing in businesses with positive social and environmental impacts, preferably using agroforestry system models, which have positive land use effects and an attractive balance between risk, return, and social and environmental benefits, in order to restore at least 100,000 hectares of habitat by 2030.
Fundo Vale’s 2030 Theory of Change
As we approached our 10th anniversary, we identified the need to review our strategy and establish long-term targets, making our management approach even more transparent. We then brought together partners, specialists, Vale leaders and our team to organize the knowledge and insights built on our journey and discuss future trends on the social and environmental agenda. Thus was born Fundo Vale’s 2030 Theory of Change, a set of principles, strategies, results, positive impacts and commitments to guide how our resources are allocated, while maintaining the organization’s purpose and its focus on supporting and investing in businesses that drive a more sustainable, fairer and more inclusive economy.
Since then, as well as supporting initiatives, we have helped unlock access to financial resources and markets for these entrepreneurs and offered them more efficient and innovative management tools through acceleration programs. We have learned and experimented with new ways of contributing resources, with and without financial returns, and deepened our knowledge of new concepts in the field, including blended finance and venture philanthropy.
Looking for ideas that could resolve key bottlenecks to scale up agroforestry systems and motivated by our work on Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal, we launched the Agroforestry Challenge, Fundo Vale’s first open innovation initiative. Through a partnership with Vale Natural Reserve and accelerator TroposLab, this challenge mapped 130 innovative ideas, received 69 entries from all over Brazil and pre-accelerated 15 startups, of which 6 were accelerated. They include Inocas, which is part of the business portfolio for Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal.
In 2020, after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, we supported the preparation of a COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan in partnership with Conexsus, to meet the most pressing needs of community businesses in the areas of family farming and resource extraction during the pandemic. Through an Emergency Credit Line, we offered access to loans quickly and with interest rates and terms suited to the circumstances of these businesses.
Beyond business promotion and investing, management of social and environmental impacts
We continued on our path toward 2030, focusing on achieving the results expected for 2025. We developed a specific Theory of Change for the habitat restoration component of Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal through agroforestry businesses, in order to orient implementation strategies and direct support for businesses. During the year, we restored 5,125 hectares through impact businesses.
We produced a REDD+ Business Plan, which analyzed more than 60 opportunities through a rigorous methodology combining positive social and environmental impacts with business strategies, in view of Vale’s objectives. We also incubated the Carbon Hub, which uses a mix of strategies to develop its own projects, investing in new businesses and technologies, and buying and selling carbon credits in the market, in line with Vale’s needs, generating positive externalities and boosting the marketplace.
We contributed to strengthening an ecosystem with positive impacts on the bioeconomy, providing R$10 million for business promotion, R$40 million for investments and helping attract other investors, in addition to engaging strategic actors to help these businesses prosper. The idea is for initial capital returns to be reinvested in new projects and businesses, generating a virtuous cycle.
We made progress in building the foundations for GIMPACT, a model for managing and measuring the social and environmental impacts of supported initiatives, based on world-class standards of venture philanthropy and impact investing.
Later that year, in partnership with the Institute for the Amazon’s People and Environment (Imazon) and Microsoft, we supported the creation of PrevisIA, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to prevent and monitor deforestation in the Amazon. Its objective is to provide early information on regions at high risk of deforestation so that preventive measures can be taken.
Challenges to develop businesses with positive impacts on a large scale
In addition to acceleration programs carried out in partnership with the Amazon Impact Accelerator (AMAZ), Conexsus Institute and Amazon Journey, we developed an acceleration program for Vale’s 2030 Forest Goal to tackle the challenge of developing businesses with regenerative impacts on a large scale. The latter acceleration program, developed with the CERTI Foundation and Darwin Startups, admitted five businesses to its portfolio in 2022 with the aim of helping them scale their solutions.
We also formed a partnership with Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, joining its Living Forest Program, which plans to mobilize up to R$250 million for the reforestation agenda together with private partners, including Vale, through Fundo Vale. This initiative will take place over the course of seven years and the expectation is to reforest between 28,000 and 43,000 hectares of land with native species, capturing up to 15 metric million tons of CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere in a 25-year cycle. In 2022, the bank selected the Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity (Funbio) to manage the program. In addition, work began on structuring the first call for proposals focused on the Amazon, to be launched in 2023.
We also partnered with Vale in investing in Biomas, a company that plans to help transform the planet through the restoration, conservation and preservation of Brazilian biomes such as the Amazon Rainforest, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado Savanna. It was co-founded by Itaú, Marfrig, Suzano, Santander, Rabobank and Vale.
2023 so far…
Incubation and structuring of a Fundo Vale spinoff organization
Among numerous projects, we formed a partnership with Grupo Algar, through which we made our first purchase of high-integrity forest carbon credits, to protect 50,000 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest.
In the area of business development, we supported the launch of the Climate Impact Calculator for Forests and Land Use, developed by Climate Ventures together with WayCarbon. This tool makes it possible to calculate the climate impact of forest restoration and protection initiatives, as well as more sustainable agricultural practices, understanding the impact of each business in terms of emissions or carbon sequestration.
In partnership with CocoaAction and its partners, Fundo Vale is supporting strategic measures on the cocoa agenda, working with initiatives and associations of producers to foster dialogue with the public sector to understand how to structure new projects to improve the quality of life of people who work in this market.
In order to promote discussions and initiatives involving businesses with positive social and environmental impacts within the foremost innovation hub in Latin America, Cubo Itaú, Fundo Vale became one of its sponsors in 2023. The goal is to catalyze the positive social and environmental impact agenda within the Brazilian innovation ecosystem to strengthen the forest, climate and bioeconomy agendas.
Furthermore, to promote the forest carbon credit business ecosystem and contribute to Vale’s objective of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, Fundo Vale launched the Forest & Climate Challenges Acceleration Program – Carbon Edition, in partnership with Quintessa, an impact business accelerator. The program’s strategic partners include Cubo Itaú, EcoSecurities, the Ekos Brasil Institute, Irani, KPTL and Suzano Ventures. The call for proposals attracted 239 entries and 5 startups were selected for the acceleration phase.
This year, the Amazon Journey Platform also started up. This initiative, conceived by the CERTI Foundation, is funded by Fundo Vale, Itaú, Santander and Bradesco. The objective is to stimulate a thriving ecosystem of innovative and scalable bioeconomy businesses in the Amazon, enhancing the competitiveness of protected and restored forests. Over the course of 3 years, the project expects to mobilize 20,000 talented entrepreneurs, create 200 startups with positive forest impacts, support/accelerate 100 startups, and invest smart money in 30 startups. It also aims to test 10 business models developed together with companies that are interested in being clients, co-developers or co-investors in startups in sustainable forest chains, and to strengthen 10 strategic local mechanisms to boost the innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem, promoting the bioeconomy as a driver of forest competitiveness.
Fundo Vale is where the bioeconomy happens. Going forward, we will continue to work and tell new stories of positive impacts, helping shape a better future for communities and the environment.