The Obrigado Difference

Obrigado

4. Quality Education 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 15. Life on Land

Overview

Obrigado provides natural coconut-related products to global markets using their patented extraction method. This method ensures that the land is preserved and the entire coconut is used in production. The company abides by their Zero Waste goal by ensuring they are socially and environmentally responsible for both the consumption and production of their products. The company helps solve several SDG’s by protecting natural resources and using sustainable production patterns.

Authors

Mytch Dellima

Mytch Dellima

Allison Lang

Allison Lang

Lina Kamal

Lina Kamal

Colin Ray

Colin Ray

George Kapralos

George Kapralos

Scott Pedersen

Scott Pedersen

School

University of Guelph

University of Guelph

Professor

Ruben Burga

Ruben Burga

Innovation

Obrigado aims to target a Zero Waste goal in the production processes. This goal consists of utilizing the entire coconut for the production of their coconut product lines. More specifically, the goal includes the extraction of water from the coconut when it is young and green. The water and pulp is used to create their coconut water and milk. The typical uses of this inner layer of the coconut are primarily for food/beverages and beauty cosmetics. Lastly, the husk of the coconut is dried and turned into biodegradable anti-erosion blankets to supply energy for the factory. This husk material is also currently used as an organic fertilizer approved by the Rainforest Alliance on the Obrigado land.

This initiative has been in place since the company was founded, and not only does it save the organization time and money, but goes hand in hand with the one of the SDGs they are continuously working towards. The 12th Sustainable Development Goal represents Responsible Consumption and Production, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. By using the entire coconut, they are not only at the advantage of selling the beverage/pulp within it, but also cutting down costs of alternative fertilizers or to make bio mats which are sold in construction and farm land.

Obrigado’s main purpose is to thank the land we have been given and for the people living off of it. To do this, they must work towards not only benefiting the people around them but the land they are using. Their Zero Waste model is not only beneficial to the company but to the planet as well, creating a more sustainable future for those to come.

The Obrigado Difference

Inspiration

The inspiration behind the growth of Obrigado was the long-term vision of the brand. This was to introduce a delicious and natural product to the mass market without disturbing the environment in which it was produced. This included having an ecological balance of forestation and wildlife in the surrounding areas as well as maintaining the soil and the land for a healthy ecosystem.

In addition to their primary inspiration, The Oranchacka Group had discovered a small village on the land they had purchased. Instead of having the habitants move elsewhere, the group decided to incorporate their knowledge and skills into their production plans. The foundation of Obrigado was able to provide these people with an opportunity for employment and the ability to supply for their families. To accomplish this goal, Obrigado had created jobs both on the farm and in the factories. On the farm, employees would plant coconut trees, maintain and monitor the growth of these coconuts and deliver the coconuts for inspection. However in the production facilities, employees are encouraged to clean the coconuts and prepare the products to be sold both locally and globally. Over 90% of the employees are from the local neighbourhood.

“We taught these individuals the rules of regular-structured employment and that it is part of a long-term strategy,” said Chief Operating Officer John Kapralos. “Most, if not all of those people, work in some part of our company.''

To this date, Obrigado remains focused on the social impact of their organization. On their establishment they have a school, which they fully funded, in order to provide an education for the people in the village. Regardless of the corporate results, this educational service and treatment is their main concern. Chief Operating Officer John Kapralos was quoted saying “ the company being profitable or not has nothing to do with our part regarding social responsibility”.



Overall impact

Obrigado’s unique and sustainable innovations have impacted many factors of the society in Brazil. The two main impacts that Obrigado has made are their responsibility to protect the rainforest and producing a sustainable product. To help protect the rainforest in the Bahia region, Obrigado has created passageways for the animals to protect their natural habitat. They do not want their plantation to affect the biodiversity of this area and know it is necessary to maintain the forest area. Similarly, Obrigado has been actively implementing an act of reforestation by collecting seeds from the forests for tree maintenance.

Also, Obrigado monitors the amount of water they use for their irrigation systems. In particular, Obrigado saves 80% more water than natural irrigation systems. Although Obrigado uses an organic fertilizer, this system helps to minimize the use of unneeded water and, therefore, eliminates the effects of leaching, evaporation and infiltration on the soil. The company also has a vision to help control the results of climate change. Since the foundation of the company, Obrigado has been able to plant over 400,000 trees. These trees reside only on the 30% of land in which they chose to grow. The fact that they have used their resources so expertly goes to show their contribution to global climate change. For example, using their final remainders of coconut husks as a source of renewable energy consumption. Obrigado takes pride in their ability to use their resources and are admired by the brand's corporate culture.

Obrigado measures the long term effects of all their operations, taking pride in their products, communities and, most importantly, protecting the environment. These standards don’t stop there. Obrigado holds suppliers to their sustainability efforts and is in the process of introducing the Obrigado Sustainability Code of Conduct for suppliers. The company encourages customers, clients and stakeholders to help them build an inspirational brand and do great things for the planet and the people living on it.



Business benefit

Since 2004, Obrigado innovation practices have had a positive impact on the company's culture through their commitment to sustainable practices and social responsibility. What started with acquiring 6,000 hectares of land in the Brazilian rainforest has grown into 3 farming and manufacturing plants with over 400,000 palm trees being locally farmed, producing over 90 million coconuts each year. The remaining untouched natural forests help maintain the natural resources of the ecosystem.

Sustainable management practices are at the heart of everything they do. As Kapralos says, "we don’t take more than we need, and we give back what we can.''

Obrigado's strategic initiatives are aligned with the company vision, philosophy and priorities:

1. To create high quality sustainable products

2. To employ a local workforce and follow fair trade practices

3. To develop and build on new processes, technologies and partnerships

4. To have a competitive global market position to maximize sales and create new opportunities

5. To provide sustainable growth, development and education

They have a diversified business culture that promotes gender equality and employs more than 200 local farmers; 90% of the employees live in the surrounding villages. They value long-term employment and provide educational opportunities using an Arista System of training in Plants Nutrition and Sustainable Farming. More than 1% of the revenue from each product sold is invested back into cultural, educational and athletic programs for over 170 children each year.

One of their initial corporate social responsibilities was to ensure people living illegally on the land were given legal status in the community to thrive and contribute to their local economy. In 2018, Obrigado earned certification as the only B-Corp Certified coconut beverage company for displaying the highest standards of best practices and dedication to becoming a zero-waste business in the years to come.



Social and environmental benefit

Obrigado aims to successfully benefit the society and the environment. The Obrigado family believes that in order to sustain a growing business, it must produce positive economic outcomes. One way the business does well for the environment is by growing crops on only 30% of the land. The Oranchacka Group insisted on maintaining the majority of the land and not disturbing the wildlife or ruining the natural habitats. This helps prevent any bugs or pesticides from contaminating the coconut trees. The sustainable farming methods create more coconuts on average, which allows for the operations to be more sustainable and efficient. As the demand for the brand grows, Obrigado does not want to plant more trees on this specific land. They understand how meaningful the land is to these habitants and suggest relocating to another part of Brazil would be a better alternative if need be.

Additionally, Obrigado has created only one dam to make sure they have water and irrigation efficiencies. Since the supply of water is limited in this particular village, having this allows for the exact amount of water to be used for production. This saves a lot of water in the long run. In fact, Obrigado has been able to save 160 litres of water per day when, on average, an ordinary system may use approximately 200 litres per day. The system helps maintain the health of the coconut and ensures no elements within the fruit go bad before production. Furthermore, Obrigado has established a system where they incorporate a mosaic pattern for all of the trees to make sure everything gets irrigated properly without threatening the flow of the environment. It is very important for Obrigado to keep their farms well-organized and maintained.

Each and everyday the team strives to identify how they can impact the local community in Brazil. The Chairman of the Oranchacka Group wants these people to be well taken care of. In order to accomplish this mission they built a school by the name of Instituto Gente to give these kids the opportunity to learn and experience modern ways of education. It is their personal motivation to help these individuals and support the local community to improve society's well-being.

Interview

John Kapralos, Chief Operating Officer

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Obrigado

Obrigado

Conde, Bahia, BR

Business Website: https://www.obrigado.com/en_gb

Year Founded: 2004

Number of Employees: 201 to 500

The Obrigado brand is a certified B-Corporation coconut company based in Bahia, Brazil. Established in 2014 by Brazilian coconut producer Group Aurantica, Obrigado owns sustainable coconut farms and state-of-the-art facilities throughout the Bahia region. Obrigado distributes coconut water and related coconut products worldwide. Being respectful to the environment, Obrigado focuses on sustainability and quality in every aspect of the business, investing in their natural and social environments.