Environment, society and economy at the centre of innovation - Brazilian cases

The 2nd ESG Talks of 2022 brought initiatives with an environmental, economic, but mainly social impact.

Our hostess, Natura, brought the socio-environmental repositioning case of her perfume brand Kaiak, Plastic Bank showed how it is to generate income for people in extremely vulnerable situations with recycling and Albert Einstein Hospital presented how it is possible to fully upcycle hospital fabrics.

The first two cases started from a global problem: the excessive use of plastic and its disposal in the environment. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic are discarded in the oceans. That's about one truck per minute. This volume tends to double by 2030. At this rate, it is possible that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. The third case set out to solve the challenge of discarding hospital textile waste, a problem that generates 67 tons of fabric every year for Brazil's landfills.

“We have the idea that the environmental problem is an external problem and is not part of our life. But it's not like that. We are affected by it.” Helena, Plastic Bank

Speakers of the 2nd ESG Talk:

  • Luiza Castelan,
    Senior Service Designer at Natura
  • Helena Pavese,
    Country Manager at Plastic Bank
  • Dida Capobianco Fava,
    Process Specialist on Health Innovation at Albert Einstein Hospital

Kaiak Natura - Together for the Oceans

More beauty, less garbage. Supported by this pillar, Natura&Co reinterpreted the use of plastic and redesigned their production chain.

A very important part of this project was the research. There were more than 40 hours listening to consumers and Natura beauty consultants from different backgrounds and regions of Brazil. The result showed that customers have the understanding that each one of them can do their part to more sustainable actions, but they feel it lacks information and consumer goods that they can connect and get involved with. Thus, the idea of repositioning the perfume brand Kaiak arose.

The production chain for Kaiak was changed and it now works with plastic collected from cooperatives.


Today, Natura has managed to reduce plastic use with Kaiak packaging by 20% and incorporate the recycled plastic in its making.

Saving the oceans and creating jobs are the socio-environmental results of this case. You can watch the case video in the full video.

Plastic Bank

Brazil is a country of inequalities that face two serious problems: poverty and plastic pollution in the oceans. Poverty is visible, every day. On the contrary, the problem of plastic pollution not so much. But we are surrounded by plastic.


Brazil is the 4th largest plastic producer in the world, but the one that recycles the least. That's 2 million tons of plastic we consume daily. Most of the plastic produced in Brazil ends up in open-air landfills or on the streets - only 10% is recycled.

"For Plastic Bank, plastic is not rubbish, it’s a business opportunity. When we reinsert this material into the economy, we generate income, generate jobs, generate business opportunities."Helena Pavese

The work involves promoting plastic collection in seaside areas through ethical collection communities. Community members exchange plastic as currency and receive bonuses for doing so. The exchange is tracked by blockchain, making fully traceable and transparent recycling processes. In this way, Plastic Bank generates a secure income for the members of the collection community.

The challenge of this project is how to reach the collectors, people living in extremely vulnerable situations.

Founded in 2013 in Vancouver, Canada and arrived in Brazil in 2019. So far, in Brazil:

  • 200 million plastic bottles have already been removed from the environment
  • 14 thousand impacted collectors

Numbers aside, working with people in vulnerable situations has also created emotionally moving stories, some of which were shared in the event.


Until last year, textile waste from Hospital Albert Einstein was disposed of like ordinary fabric. The Hospital spent more than R$ 700,000 (around €130,000) to send the waste to a landfill. Today, waste becomes luxury with 100% of these fabrics returns to the production chain and become new products, in the hands of the cooperative seamstresses, named Costurando Sonhos (Sewing Dreams).

The project has already had more than 5,000 products made, including suitcases, purses, toiletry bags and others,

“We start doing this not knowing what the result will be in the end. We start by looking at the challenge.”
Dida Capobianco Fava

 The biggest challenge of the project was the human side, “When working with circular economy, thinking about all aspects of the chain and where people are inserted, how to scale, who are the suppliers, how to transport the fabrics is a challenge”, mentioned Dida.

UpLuxo is a fully scalable project in the hospital segment, with the potential to reduce 3.5 million tons of waste per year and save R$304 million (around €62 million) related to the waste. And it can also be scaled to more than 6,000 hospitals, juts in Brazil.

See the case presentation in the full video of the event.