Due to the nature of Votorantim’s business activities, the company has always looked to the future and sought to acquire forest areas above and beyond the immediate needs of the company and consequently a significant portion of these areas is in a high state of conservation. Given this situation, Votorantim decided to create a new company, with the idea of generating sustainable business activities while continuing to conserve its environmental assets. Consequently, new value chains can be fostered, based on the concept shared value, contributing both to the development of the local populations in the surrounding region and economic development in general.
To put this into practice, Votorantim S.A. created Reservas Votorantim Ltda (“Votorantim Forest Reserves”) to manage its environmental assets. It is responsible for administering two large forest reserves. Firstly, the Legado das Águas, the largest privately-owned reserve of Atlantic Forest in Brazil, covering 31 thousand hectares, which is located in the municipalities of Juquiá, Tapiraí and Miracatu in the Ribeira Valley Region of the State of São Paulo. Secondly, the Legado Verdes do Cerrado, classified as a privately-owned Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), consisting of 32 thousand hectares of savannah (“cerrado”), which is located in Niquelândia, in the State of Goiás.
The Legado das Águas, with 31 thousand hectares, was constituted by the acquisition of several large areas of forest by Votorantim, between the 1920s and the 1950s. From the very beginning, the company’s objective was to conserve the vegetation cover to ensure the long-term availability of water production in the region in order to supply its company-owned hydroelectric plants. Today, it has seven hydroelectric plants in the region, operated by Votorantim Energia, that supply energy to its aluminum company, the Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA). This long-term vision was formalized, in 2012, in a memorandum of agreement on the use of these areas, between the Government of the State of São Paulo and Votorantim S.A. As a result, the Legado das Águas was established with the aim of using these environmental resources to generate a positive legacy for society by developing activities in research, education and sustainable tourism, as well as enabling business opportunities.
The Legado Verdes do Cerrado, covering 32 thousand hectares, is an area acquired by Votorantim S.A.’s subsidiary, the Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA). The vast majority of the total area, around 27 thousand hectares, has been protected by the company since its acquisition over 40 years ago and consists of savanna (“cerrado”) in an excellent state of conservation. it is located adjacent to the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, and is composed of two main areas. The area known as the Engenho nucleus contains the headwaters of three rivers, the Peixe, the São Bento and the Traíras, from which all the public water supply of the nearby municipality Niquelândia is withdrawn. It houses the the installations of the Legado Verdes do Cerrado, consisting of 23 thousand hectares of green economy activities, and 5 thousand hectares dedicated to livestock, soy production and forestry. The other area, the Santo Antônio Serra Negra nucleus, with 5 thousand hectares, is located near the Serra da Mesa Lake. The green economy activities include the creation of a nursery of seedlings for native cerrado fruits and reforestation, environmental education courses, eco-tourism and beekeeping.
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