Created in 2021 by Fundo Vale, in partnership with professors at the University of São Paulo, the Positive Social and Environmental Impact Business Course has already trained 305 people. A second season began this year. In all, 265 people, split into nine groups, did the first season, and 52 people, split into two groups, signed up for the second one. 

The course, designed for Vale employees and partners, aims to democratize access to information, educate and share knowledge in order to build capacity and contribute to Vale’s sustainability commitments. 

In this way, it contributes to achieving the results stated in Fundo Vale’s Theory of Change, one of whose strategies is to build capabilities through the production and dissemination of knowledge. The Theory of Change also aims to ensure that by 2025, the employees of Vale and other partner companies are engaged in the positive social and environmental impact agenda. 

“The positive social and environmental impact agenda, of which we are protagonists within Vale, has increasingly gained strength and occupied space on the company’s strategic agendas, within the framework of nature-based solutions and the new business vision that the company can have in this area,” says Giovana Gohr Serenato, Fundo Vale’s social and environmental innovation leader. 

For Vale employees, this is an opportunity to prepare for this new business model and the possibility of working with businesses with positive social and environmental impacts and their ecosystem. It is also a way for Fundo Vale to meet its objectives of bringing cutting-edge themes into the company, anticipating future market movements.  

Letícia Oliveira, a specialist sustainability analyst at Vale, has participated in both seasons of the course. She works on social project management and she views the course as an opportunity to learn about other types of partnerships for local economic and human development. 

“I work with social projects and I’m interested in learning about the different possibilities for the company to act, how this has reverberated in the community and how Fundo Vale’s work has matured and generated impactful results for the regions where it operates,” she says. “I was also motivated by the possibility of investing in a social enterprise, as an individual.”  

As for the partners, the course enables them to share challenges and practical experiences of success, network, publicize their businesses and help enrich the content and debates. 

In all, there were four editions a year in the first season and there will be two in the second one. The classes are taught by Graziella Comini, associate professor at the University of São Paulo’s School of Economics, Administration and Accounting. Among other topics, the course examines what positive social and environmental impact businesses are and what impact investing is.  

“This year’s edition was attended by colleagues in a wide range of fields, including some from outside Brazil. We were joined by colleagues in the finance and legal areas, which shows that we are starting to spread knowledge of this topic across the company,” Serenato says. 

For 2024, the plan is to build a journey to let the course’s alumni go on to further training, deepening their knowledge of the subject in their areas and offering the opportunity to mentor or invest in impact businesses that Fundo Vale or its partners support.