On the occasion of our yearly PayUneers Awards, PayU partnered with Saving the Amazon Foundation and planted a tree for every PayUneer.
The Amazon rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. According to a landmark specific report, published last summer, over 10,000 species are at the verge of extinction. Human interference, mostly in the form of agriculture and illegal timber, is causing unceasing destruction – 35% of the Amazon Forest is a subject to deforestation and degradation.
The report points out that about 200 billion tons of carbon are being held solely by the soil and vegetation of the Amazon, an amount which accounts for over 5x the whole world’s yearly CO2 emissions. If destruction is not brought to an end soon, the rainforest will no longer act as a carbon sink and devastating impact on global climate change can be expected. A further study paints an even darker picture by suggesting that parts of the Amazon are beginning to emit more carbon than they absorb.
The threats posed by the accelerating destruction of the Amazon are overarching and naturally extend to the lives of the many of many indigenous communities who call the Amazon home. Almost 2.7 million of the people that share the biome and live in 8 countries, are Amazonian indigenous people. They represent over 350 ethnic groups, 60 of which still live in voluntary isolation.
While the main efforts should focus on protecting the Amazon, restoration efforts, such as reforestation, can also have a crucial role. Conscious of the difficulties and long-term effects of reforestation, it is paramount for these efforts to be executed together with local entities and through local expertise.
As a leader in the FinTech sector across high-growth markets and one of the top investors in this space worldwide, we actively drive the transition from offline business models to lower carbon and digitally optimized fintech ecosystems.
In FY22, we strengthened carbon-accounting practices, setting the basis for our carbon reduction strategy. Overall, the carbon footprint of our own operations is relatively small, given our fintech business model. The most important categories are data and cloud services, electricity consumption of our offices as well as business travel. Based on our reduction pathway, we offset the remaining emissions. We are scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon-neutral for FY22. PayU aims to become carbon net positive. As a further step in this direction, we will set science-based net-zero targets to be implemented and achieved over the next three years.
As a global fintech leader, PayU’s strength derives from our global reach and local expertise. While following our reduction roadmap, we always keep an eye out for visionary, local initiatives worth supporting.
As a people-centered business, we thrive on ambitious endeavors that empower meaningful relationships, nurture sustainable growth and make a difference in the world. One such visionary project, we recently found in the face of the Saving the Amazon Foundation.
Saving The Amazon Foundation (STA) is an NGO dedicated to the conservation of the Amazon by planting trees in collaboration with local indigenous communities. Since its inception, the Foundation has focused on providing welfare to the most vulnerable ethnic communities in Colombia through opportunities that are closely aligned with their cultural traditions. Supporting indigenous communities is just one of its missions. Others are preserving the Amazon forest, protecting its biodiversity and water resources, and combating climate change and multidimensional poverty.
The Foundation’s work involves a powerful impact model covering multiple issues – from the restoration of territories to carbon compensation and a range of other community work. To align with the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, STA has reset how it measures the real-world impact of its work. In doing so, the organization hopes to clearly demonstrate the impact of its work not only to key stakeholders but also to partners and supporters worldwide.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are part of the UN’s Agenda issue an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership. Ending poverty and other deprivations may go hand-in-hand with strategies that boost health and education, reduce inequality across the world, and foster economic growth – all the while we tackle the challenges of climate change by preserving oceans and forests.
PayU teamed up with Saving The Amazon Foundation to deliver a reforestation project. To demonstrate the impact of PayU’s support for the forest, the Foundation released a report highlighting the project’s environmental and social benefits.
PayU’s joint initiative with Saving The Amazon Foundation addresses a number of sustainable development goals set by the latter.
Goal 13 underlines how the increasing greenhouse emission requires countries around the world to shift economies. One of the largest priority areas are terrestrial and wetland ecosystems.
PayU’s sponsorship resulted in planting 3,205 trees in the indigenous reservation area of Tayazu.
The forest contributes to mitigating the impacts of climate change by capturing carbon and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide (CO2). When planting new trees, the STA ensured that new trees were representative of the local flora. Indigenous species, including Ivacabá (Oenocarpus bacaba), Loiro (Ocotea sp.), and Siringa (Sagotia racemosa Baill), make up 94.62% of PayU’s total contribution to the forest.
The Saving The Amazon Foundation estimates that PayU’s work in the forest can potentially capture approximately 4,377 tons of CO2.
Goal 15 focuses on protecting, restoring, and promoting the sustainable use of ecosystems on land. This includes sustainable forest management and halting or reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss.
Another critical benefit of PayU’s joint project with STA is improving life on land ecosystems. PayU’s forest is located in the great indigenous reservation of Vaupés, in the community of Tayazú.
The region comprises ~200 hectares of forest covering a border area that is shared by several communities. All the improvements in the area benefit not only the Tayazú community but everyone living on the land and in its proximity.
The PayU forest also impacts soil nutrients, positively affecting 7,073 hectares of land and supporting the survival rate of immature plants. Several of the impacted plant species are used for food or medicinal purposes, but they also bear cultural and ancestral significance (for example, the Dabucurí festival).
Goal 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms, all over the world. This is especially important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic that pushed an additional 119-124 million people into extreme poverty in 2020.
STA works exclusively in areas of extreme poverty to improve the quality of life of vulnerable communities in the country.
More than two-thirds of the Tayazú families that participated in planting the PayU forest don’t have another source of income.
Apart from planting seeds, the Foundation leads important long-term projects to provide employment to local communities. Families that participate in the forest enrichment projects see both medium- and long-term benefits. For example, the species planted in PayU’s forest can be used as a source of wood but also of secondary benefits ranging from medicinal uses to growing food and nutrients.
The objective of Goal 2 is to finally end the problem of hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition across global communities, and promote sustainable forms of agriculture.
The census carried out by the Foundation shows that the economic resources derived from crops grown by indigenous families have a direct link to their families’ nutrition.
Many of the plants included in the sowing of the PayU forest are intended for this use to help solve the challenge of food insecurity in the community.
Goal 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all girls and women to participate in decision-making across their communities equally.
The STA provides women with the opportunity to access the income that wouldn’t be available to them otherwise. Any income generated from work is transferred directly to the women responsible for it – which is crucial for providing them more autonomy in a community where they may be left out of decision-making.
The PayU forest actively contributes to gender equality in the Tayazú community as women make up most of the team working on the planting project – they are directly beneficiaries of the sponsorship.
The mission of Goal 8 is to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth – combined with full and productive employment and decent work available for everyone.
The 3,205-tree forest planted for PayU takes into account local cultural values. The community’s love for conservation is reinforced by providing job opportunities connected to their traditional experience in planting trees and taking care of their land.
The PayU forest also provides resources such as crops that help improve the quality of life for families in 97.56% of the local communities. The planting process with the Foundation and diversification of income sources plays a key part in this improvement.
Goal 10 aims to reduce inequality within and among countries, especially considering the impact of Covid-19 on reversing the progress made in this area.
The STA finds communities with high multidimensional poverty and lack of employment opportunities in the hope that projects like planting the PayU forest can enact systemic change. The benefits of this activity include offering an alternative to the families in the region and providing them with new initiatives that may improve their quality of life.
With the support of organizations like PayU, the Foundation is focused on supporting communities with the highest levels of multidimensional poverty.
Our PayUneers are at the heart of everything we do. It is them who inspire us to be better. It is for them, their families and communities, we strive to improve the future for. Our PayUneers, their safety and wellbeing, are at the core of our expanding circles of positive impact.
As we hold our annual PayUneers Awards today, we look with great pride and fulfillment at what we have achieved together so far. The trees, planted in the names of every one of our PayUneers, stand for the power every PayUneer has within them. Rooted firmly in the uniqueness of their personalities, we want to see every PayUneer growing strong and aiming high towards a sky full of opportunities. Similar to the forest we planted, it is by bringing all the individual strength together that we can achieve our ambitious goals and change the world for the better.
As Albert Einstein once said: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” At PayU we understand that united we can make a true difference.
To take a closer look at how our forest makes a difference, download the full Saving The Amazon report below.