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Ribeira Valley, located in the southern region of the State of São Paulo, is to conserve the largest possible area of native forest around its headwaters and along its banks. For this reason, beginning over 50 years ago, the company acquired a series of areas of virgin forest, in which it later built seven hydroelectric plants. Today, this vast area of approximately 31 thousand hectares is the largest privately-owned reserve of Atlantic Forest in Brazil.

It is much more than a simple natural source of water, it is a rare territory and in a high state of conservation.

In 2012, the entire area was institutionalized, as the Legado das Águas, in a partnership between Votorantim S.A. and the Government of the State of São Paulo State. At that time, Votorantim S.A. signed an agreement, in which it committed to continue to conserve the area. The terms of the agreement included the concept of shared management, the facilitation of advances in scientific studies, environmental education, public use, protection of endangered species and the social and economic development of the region.

The Legado das Águas is the first subsidiary of the company Reservas Votorantim Ltda., a business unit of Votorantim S.A. dedicated to the management of its environmental assets and the generation of shared value. In addition to conserving the ecosystem services and rich array of fauna and flora of an area that represents 1.5% of the remaining 9% of the Atlantic Forest in the State of São Paulo, it  has developed an innovative model for managing privately-owned forest reserves. Today, its activities are structured in four fronts: Institutional Management, Human and Social Capital, Natural Capital and Economic Capital.

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OUTPOST OF THE ATLANTIC FOREST BIOSPHERE RESERVE

The Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve (RBMA), which is recognized by UNESCO, is the first area in Brazil to be included in the World Biosphere Reserve Network. The Atlantic Forest covers an area of 89,687,000 hectares and is present in 17 Brazilian states.

The Legado das Águas has been recognized as an RBMA Outpost, which is a protected area that, in a permanent and exemplary manner, fosters the three functions of a Biosphere Reserve: conservation, sustainable development and knowledge generation. The title was awarded by the RBMA National Council, which has nominated 58 such outposts in 13 states in Brazil. More information on the RBMA here!

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In the 1950s, under the leadership of José Ermírio de Moraes, the Votorantim Group decided to invest in the energy sector in the region of the Juquiá river headwaters. Votorantim’s need to secure its energy supply by building and maintaining its own hydroelectric plants arose due to the founding and growth of its aluminum operations, principally the Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), In addition to building hydroelectric plants, Votorantim acquired the areas of land around the headwaters and reservoirs, in order to ensure the availability of water production resources. This was truly a pioneering vision in the history of Brazilian industry.

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