Businesses in Mexico and Brazil to boost sustainable housing and job opportunities

19 Apr 2012

New York – More than 28,000 low-income households in Mexico and Brazil will gain access to environmentally sustainable housing, training and jobs by 2017 following two companies’ commitments to the Business Call to Action (BCtA) today.

The BCtA is a global initiative that encourages private sector efforts to fight poverty. It is supported by several international organizations including the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

In Mexico, ¡Échale! a tu casa, an affordable housing provider, has committed to making US$25 million in low-cost financing available over the next five years to enable 25,000 low-income families to build their own “eco-friendly” homes, which include wood-saving stoves or bio-digesters for energy needs and rain harvesting water purification systems.

Nearly nine million families in Mexico have inadequate housing, and two thirds of them face difficulty obtaining loans to purchase homes. As a result, millions resort to building unsafe and unsecure housing structures. ¡Échale! a tu casa‘s self-built kits are up to five times less expensive than buying already built homes.

Grupo Orsa—one of Brazil’s largest pulp, paper and packaging companies will provide job opportunities to low-income people in the Amazon through environmentally sustainable practices. Ouro Verde Amazonia, a subsidiary of Grupo Orsa, will train 3,000 low-income farmers on sustainable growing and harvesting practices to help boost production and improve the quality of Brazil nuts that reach global markets through its organic and certified products.

By promoting better Brazil nut production and eliminating intermediaries, farmers will be able to quadruple their earnings. Furthermore, improved agricultural practices will help to ensure sustainability of the Amazon forest.

“The challenge is to reorder a traditional Amazon supply chain through consolidation in a more sustainable and harmonious way; thereby sharing the benefits from producing one of the healthiest foods in nature, the Brazil nut,” said Luis Fernando Laranja, Partner and CEO, Ouro Verde Amazonia

“These two inclusive business initiatives show the importance of private companies in building a more sustainable future; one where attention to people, planets and profit is both, possible and worthy,” said Susan Chaffin, BCtA Programme Manager. “As we approach the Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference being held in Brazil in June, these leading examples serve to establish a best practice for other companies to follow.

Contact Information

BCtA: Carina Kjelstad, carina.kjelstad@undpaffiliates.org, +212-906-5194

Grupo Orsa: Rosa Fonseca or Felipe Zaghetto, Department of Corporate Communications and Press Relations, cgo@grupoorsa.com.br, +55 11 4689-8731/8783

¡Échale! a tu casa: mailto:informes@echale.com.mx; Carla Hernandez. Social Franchise Director, carla@echale.com.mx, +52 55 55 63 52 00