Projeto Acai: The Sustainable Acai Project

Projeto Acai

1. No Poverty 3. Good Health and Well-Being 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 15. Life on Land

Overview

Projeto Acai is a healthy restaurant chain that serves acai bowls made of fresh organic acai that comes from the Para state of Brazil and is fair trade certified. A portion of the revenue is dedicated to protecting Amazon Rainforest and its native people through various initiatives.

Author

Evita Upeniece

Evita Upeniece

School

University of Dubai

University of Dubai

Professor

Yaprak Anadol

Yaprak Anadol

Innovation

Projeto Acai currently operates 3 branches and is planning to expand further in the future. Their project is to sustainably provide acai and all its benefits to the people of the Middle East while contributing and investing in the protection of the Amazon Rainforest and the communities that live there. Acai berries only grow in wild in the region of Amazon, mainly Brazil, Colombia and are picked by local farmers and sent down the Amazon river. Projeto Acai serves only organic, fair trade acai and take pride in knowing that what they serve is sustainable and beneficial. 5% of the raw acai purchased goes back to help the Amazon communities.

Furthermore, Projeto Acai has also taken steps to ensure a positive impact on the environment by opting to use biodegradable and compostable materials in their restaurant instead of using plastic.

Projeto Acai: The Sustainable Acai Project

Inspiration

The inspiration behind this project came from the founder Ayman Ghanam. He had always been interested in a healthy lifestyle and healthy food and after spending some time in Brazil and getting inspired by the local culture and food, he discovered acai. Acai is a type of berry that grows in the Amazon region and is known for its benefits to reduce cholesterol, help to build the immune system, fight infection, protect the heart and even help to prevent cancer. It is rich in proteins, fibre, vitamin E, minerals and essential Omega oils. Back in Dubai Ayman came up with a concept to open a healthy food restaurant and offer acai bowls as a part of the menu to promote the healthy lifestyle in the UAE and to do it in a way that is socially responsible and sustainable.

Overall impact

The goal of this project is not only to promote a healthy lifestyle but also to care for the natural resources they use to run the restaurant. As the acai can only be found in the region of Amazon it is important for Projeto Acai to not only take but also give back to the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon is currently facing a multitude of threats as a result of unsustainable economic development. Amazon’s deforestation is one of the biggest global environmental issues today and an urgent intervention is needed to prevent an ecological disaster. By being a socially responsible project, Projeto Acai uses Sambazon as the supplier for their acai. Sambazon is a triple bottom line business that works closely with local and international Non-Government Organisations to preserve the Amazon Rainforest, ensure that the acai berries are sustainably harvested and that the farmers are paid fair wages.

Business benefit

A healthy lifestyle trend has been growing in Dubai in recent years and people are becoming more and more aware of the food impact on the body and health. Any restaurant that offers organic and healthy food menu receives more coverage in the national press and social media. By being a socially responsible project, Projeto Acai attracts more customers who are conscious about sustainability and like to get involved with projects that promote it. It was always a family business, but what started as a small panini store owned by Ayman’s father, really took off and grew into a successful healthy food spot after Ayman had the idea to change the concept. Since Projeto Acai open the doors in 2017 they have been a huge hit among the health-conscious fitness enthusiasts, surfers, kite boarders and yogis. The growing popularity let them open additional 2 branches in different areas of Dubai and they have plans to expand further to the other Emirates of the UAE. Their all-day breakfast menu has also expanded offering even more healthy meal options and now includes organic homemade peanut butter.

Social and environmental benefit

Projeto Açaí makes a statement by ensuring that almost everything they offer to their customers is organic and beneficial to health. They promote a healthier way of living by making it easier to have healthier food choices. Their food menu has an extensive range of not only healthy but also delicious options that promote the 3rd UN Sustainability Goal for Good Health and Well-being.

Projeto Acai works effectively on reducing waste from their restaurants by promoting dining in and using either reusable bowls or bowls made of biodegradable material. They have reduced the plastic use by only using straws made of cornstarch that looks and feels like plastic but is 100% biodegradable and compostable. These initiatives work to engage in achieving the 12th UN sustainability goal to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

By working with triple bottom line supplier and ensuring that the acai berries they use are sustainably harvested, Projeto Acai promotes efficient use of natural resources. They are strongly involved in restoring the Amazon Rainforest as they want to give back to Amazon and the communities that live there. 5% of the revenue from every acai bowl purchased in their branches goes to the restoration of the Amazon. This supports the 15th goal of the UN Sustainability Goals to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

The acai used by Projeto Acai is Fair Trade certified which means that that the consumers can be ensured that the acai was grown, harvested and traded in a way that improves lives of the local farmers and benefit communities of the Amazon region and protect the environment. Fair Trade is a global movement plays a huge role in contributing to the 1st UN Goal of ending poverty. The organisation ensures that the farmers and workers of the Para region of Brazil who pick and gather the acai berries receive a guaranteed minimum price or a market price if it is higher.

Interview

Ayman Ghanam, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Projeto Acai

Projeto Acai

Dubai, Dubai, AE

Business Website: www.projetoacai.com

Year Founded: 2017

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Projeto Acai is a healthy restaurant chain that serves acai bowls made of fresh organic acai that comes from the Para state of Brazil and is fair trade certified. A portion of the revenue is dedicated to protecting Amazon Rainforest and its native people through various initiatives.