Guayaki is a Certified B-Corporation, and the first Fair Trade Certified yerba mate producer in the world. They have a regenerative business model that promotes stewardship alongside their sales of Yerba Mate, a tea which they claim has, The strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate, all in one beverage.”
Mate is brewed from a plant species native to the South American Atlantic rainforest, it contains 24 vitamins and minerals, as well as 15 amino acids, and plenty of polyphenols. In 1964, the Paris Scientific Society proclaimed that it was rare to see a plant, “in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value.”
When south American cultures gather to share a gourd of mate, there is often a degree of tradition and ceremony built into the collective experience. Yerba Mate is traditionally consumed in its loose leaf form and sipped through a “bombilla” (filter straw) which is sipped from a gourd usually made from the Calabash vine, wood, metal, glass, or ceramic. The mate is prepared by a Cebador who ensures the mate is properly brewed, the right temperature, passed around the sharing circle properly, and most importantly, that everyone is enjoying themselves.
Guayaki has incorporated the regeneration of people, community, and nature into its sustainable business practices. Every single purchase of mate helps prevent deforestation, maintain indigenous culture, and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Their core principles include solutions to the difficult problems of maintaining steady and reciprocal relationships with growers, distributors, consumers, and the earth itself.
Throughout the company, and across the world, their philosophy and core principles remain intact. They state that personal regeneration is as important to them as ecological restoration. They advocate for a strong culture which cultivates purpose, respect, compassion, and fun.
Their regenerative agriculture practices go beyond just organic (which all of their products are,) they maintain the “Fair for life,” and “Non-GMO” certifications. Of course, there are no pesticides, chemical, herbicides, or GMO’s involved. Their mate is gown using a whole systems approach which helps enhance, and maintain, the biodiversity of South American Rainforests. These same forests are the same ones we rely on to help sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and help fight climate change.
By 2020, Guayaki hopes to restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic Rainforest, (which they are already 40% of the way there,) and create over 1,000 living wage jobs (of which they have already created 670). To do this, they are working with more 1,100 families in three different South American countries to grow yerba mate. Their Fair for life standards provide good and fair working conditions, and ensures that small-small-had farmers receive a fair market price for their products, and fair trade premium prices often help fund community projects and infrastructure improvements.
Indigenous and cultural identities which are often threatened with globalization and modern trade are in part being preserved by programs like Guayaki’s that help support food sovereignty, language preservation, and providing local means for discussion of successes challenges, and future ideas that could lead to a more inclusive and appropriate path as determined by the communities themselves. Guayaki also sites a 3rd party investigation that has shown that their forestry and growth practices provide more carbon sequestration and reduction than that which is emitted from all of their processing, packaging, and transportation emissions, meaning that they are carbon negative. They attribute their success to the form of agroforestry which includes multistrata layering which sequesters carbon in each layer of the canopy from ground covering grasses, to bushes, vines, and the trees which make up the over-story.
Simultaneously, in Brazil, where much of their mate is harvested and processed, they are constructing a state of the art processing facility which will use surrounding renewable energies and help utilize renewable bulk packaging in a more sustainable way. Their Sebastopool, California headquarters is also currently running on 100% renewable energy, and their aim is that 90% of the facilities discarded waste is diverted from landfills in favor of more sustainable and eco-friendly methods of recycling and composting, which they aim to continue in perpetuity.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle miles that their Cebadores travel are all tracked with the aim of offsetting them through several different programs. A fleet of electric vehicles has been deployed across there worldwide markets, and they aim to be 100% fossil free by 2019. They are also expanding their electric bicycle distribution programs. They use the UPS Carbon Neutral Shipping program to offset any carbon emissions from transport, and provide incentives for employees to commute to work by alternative transportation means.
Lastly, Guayaki strives for zero waste practices throughout their production and distribution. Nearly all Guayaki product packaging is recyclable, and a portion of it is made for post consumer recyclable materials finding new life in the marketplace. By selling their loose leaf and gourds, they are advocating for the reduction of single use packaging which is the standard of the beverage industry. They are also a part of sustainable packaging coalitions that help move the entire industry industry towards sustainable packaging as well as municipal recycling standards and education.