Veracel: Social impact assessment of Veracel’s small-scale agriculture project

In 1991 Veracel established its operations in the State of Bahia, Brazil, and was confronted with longstanding poverty and famine in the local communities. As the only large corporation operating in a 500-kilometer radius, the local communities expected that Veracel would provide them with jobs and would support their development. Veracel was aware that there could be competition over land between Veracel’s eucalyptus plantations and the community’s traditional family farming practices, and the company wanted to make sure that this did not turn into a conflict with the local communities. Thus Veracel established the Agrovida project in 2008 to train local leaders to empower them to coordinate projects in the local communities that would lead to the continuation of subsistence farming and the possibility of generating new income through the selling of surplus produce.

The project represented a lot of investment on the part of the company; thus a social impact assessment was required to demonstrate the effectiveness and the legacy of the project. 

The assessment allows for monitoring of the progress of the project, attracts and engages project investors, and contributes to improving the business enabling environment because the local communities recognize the value of the investment made by Veracel.

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • No
Organizational Focus
  • Project
Valuation Type
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Value to society
Geographical Scope
  • Brazil
Social & Human Capital Issues
  • Employment & remuneration
  • Labor relations
  • Skills & knowledge
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
  • Forest and Paper products

Key findings

Assessing the social impact of the project and communicating these results has meant that local communities understand the investments that Veracel has made to support the communities and how much they have benefited from that support. This leads to a strong positive reputation for Veracel in the region and therefore an improved business enabling environment.

Being able to evaluate the social return on investment is crucial for Veracel. The results of the assessment are fed back into investment decisions so that community projects that are performing against the chosen indicators benefit from increased investments. This means the company’s resources are channeled towards the most impactful projects.

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