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Entrepreneurs Tackling Climate Change: “Everything starts at home, the family is the primary learning and social space”, With Amazource CEO, Sergio Calderon Rossi

From a long-term perspective, everything starts at home. The family is the primary learning and social space. Everything their members…


From a long-term perspective, everything starts at home. The family is the primary learning and social space. Everything their members learn there will have a consequence in the future. Therefore, parents have a unique opportunity to instill values regarding the environment and the planet. If the children are aware of this from an early age, they will be adults who will not only assume individual responsibilities within their immediate social circles because they will know that their future decisions and actions will have an impact at a global level. And governments should make a formal, sincere and real commitment to financially tackle the problem. The real tragedy in the environmental and development field is the lack of funds. Most of them are only available on a temporary basis and for specific projects. There is no way to make a large scale and permanent impact with this financial scheme.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Sergio Calderon Rossi, Founder, and CEO of Amazource; an eco-conscious skincare line that promotes the protection of the Amazon rainforest giving part of its revenue to indigenous communities. Sergio has an extensive track record in economic and sustainable development. Before founding Ecotech Labs, Sergio had successfully led more than 80 development projects in the Andean region, from planning to execution stages for more than $ 20 million dollars. However, he was disappointed about endlessly spending most of the time trying to get limited resources that were available only for individual projects with limited impact. So, he decided to grab the climate bull by the horns and start a purpose company to be able to permanently finance the protection of the biggest rainforest on earth. This experience made him an exceptional connoisseur of the original peoples settled for centuries in the mountains and jungles of South America.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When working on development projects in South America, I felt frustrated because of the huge gap between the immense richness of the Amazonia and the scarce resources to protect it. It is incredibly disappointing and sad to see that governments and organizations see this situation as a charity thing instead of as a global survival matter. So, we decided to start a company to constantly provide resources to the communities that have been protecting the Amazonia for centuries with almost no support.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Precisely, what makes us unique is our mission at this first stage; we have partnered with indigenous communities in Amazonia who own a combined 1 million acres to protect them from deforestation. How we do that? Each product purchase finances the conservation of at least 2,000 sq ft of virgin forest. Each item contributes to different protection surfaces according to their price tag. Did you know that every single minute an area equivalent to 50 football fields is destroyed? This business model has empowered landowners for the first time to protect their territory from against the deforestation caused by illegal logging, oil extraction, and illegal mining.


Can you tell us about the initiatives that your company is taking to tackle climate change? Can you give an example for each?

If you see our mission, the initiative to save the Amazon Rainforest is our DNA, we are on the ground, working with communities. In our case, it goes beyond any corporate social responsibility or PR initiative because is our reason to exist as a company.

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your company/organization? Can you share how you overcame that. This might give insight to founders who face a similar situation. 


 
In our specific case, the biggest first challenge was to set up a reliable production and logistical chain. You can have lots of funds (actually, that wasn´t our case) but what you really need are serious and credible suppliers. That is the key to keep the things properly moving forward. In the beginning, most of our mistakes were related to finding the right ones. We also faced the availability of resources which are critical for this purpose. So, we had to make sure we can have a steady supply to satisfy a product demand.

Many people want to start a company to tackle environmental issues, but they face challenges when it comes to raising enough money to actually make it happen. Can you share how were you able to raise the funding necessary to start your organization? Do you have any advice?

Well, I think we were a little crazy and started it all with partners own funds. Maybe we were a little too passionate about our cause. I would recommend to not overthinking the things because it is impossible to foresee every problem you will have. Let´s do it!

Do you think entrepreneurs/businesses can do a better job than governments to solve the climate change and global warming issues? Please explain why or why not.

Absolutely. Governments don´t put enough public resources to fight climate change or deforestation. On the other hand, most NGO´s activities are dispersed and isolated and have limited impact. They see environmental problems with no integral vision. The only way to solve this is to apply business concepts and standards to get a steady flow of resources and not to depend on endless fundraising that only has been working as a mere relief.

What are some practical things that both people and governments can do help you address the climate change and global warming problem?

From a long-term perspective, everything starts at home. The family is the primary learning and social space. Everything their members learn there will have a consequence in the future. Therefore, parents have a unique opportunity to instill values regarding the environment and the planet. If the children are aware of this from an early age, they will be adults who will not only assume individual responsibilities within their immediate social circles because they will know that their future decisions and actions will have an impact at a global level. And governments should make a formal, sincere and real commitment to financially tackle the problem. The real tragedy in the environmental and development field is the lack of funds. Most of them are only available on a temporary basis and for specific projects. There is no way to make a large scale and permanent impact with this financial scheme.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The biggest help to go on was the inspiration gave by the partner communities we work with. It was the people who have the will to protect it without asking for anything in return. Their only motivation is that special connection with the forest acquired in their early childhood. It´s really something mystical that some people can´t get if they don´t see it.


What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.

One; build a real team from the start

Two: take advantage of all offerings from any people no matter what; most people help in good faith

Three; be prepared to be constantly on the road traveling, it is actually more difficult than it sounds

Four; try to get the more possible people onboard to minimize your financial risk, especially at the beginning

Five; be ready for the unexpected; this is quite a journey

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the world, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

There is no more justice than the equal opportunity access for absolutely everybody. That is the only base for a merit-based and peaceful society.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Know our people´s stories at https://amazource.com/

And follow and like us at

Instagram: instagram.com/amazource/

Facebook: facebook.com/amazource

Twitter: twitter.com/amazource

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Originally published at medium.com

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