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Aveda and its Partners Discuss the Opportunities and Challenges of Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Submitted by: Aveda

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Human Rights

Posted: May 22, 2007 – 09:00 AM EST



May 22 /CSRwire/ - NEW YORK- May 22, 2007 —In keeping with its long-standing commitment to environmental and socially responsible business practices, the Aveda™ Corporation is partnering with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Equator Initiative, Tribal Link Foundation, the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme, and the World Intellectual Property Organization to discuss options and opportunities for the future of indigenous entrepreneurship.

"At Aveda, we can change the world by changing the way the world does business," says Aveda President Dominique Conseil. "As stewards of the Earth, Aveda’s indigenous partners help ensure that our ingredients and products are both high quality and high integrity."

This year's dialogue, Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Opportunities and Challenges, will shed light on diverse issues currently facing indigenous entrepreneurs. Indigenous leaders will discuss opportunities and challenges in partnering with donors, lending institutions, business development agencies, and private corporations.

"UNDP and the Equator Initiative are pleased to be joining Aveda and the Tribal Link Foundation in supporting the efforts of indigenous people to develop innovative, sustainable enterprises," says Sean Southey, Manager of UNDP’s Equator Initiative. "Around the world, communities are finding creative ways to lift themselves out of poverty while preserving the diverse environments in which they live."

Leading by example, Aveda’s strategic business development puts environmental leadership and responsibility at the forefront. "A Dialogue for the Future" will highlight Aveda's sustainable business partnerships with the Yawanawá tribe in Brazil, and Australia's Indigenous Communities of aboriginal peoples of Kuktabubba—from whom the Company sources uruku and sandalwood, respectively.

A series of events on May 22nd and 23rd presents an opportunity for business leaders to embrace indigenous wisdom—inspiring new ideas and support for conducting business in a socially and environmentally conscious manner.


Aveda will host an evening reception for business and indigenous leaders on May 22nd at its corporate office in New York. The focus of the event is "Biodiversity and Climate Change," and winners of the Equator Prize will be announced. The prestigious international award, given by the Equator Initiative, recognizes outstanding local efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Aveda will host nearly 100 guests at the event, highlighted by musical performances by Richard Walley of Australia and Tashka Yawanawá of Brazil, with remarks by: Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda, Javier Loayza Barea, Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the UN, Charles McNeill of the Environment and Energy Group of the UNDP, and Marcos Terena of the Terena tribe in Brazil. Speakers will discuss the critical role that indigenous peoples play in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

"Indigenous peoples are integral to the Earth’s biodiversity resources," says Terena, an indigenous leader, and the only indigenous person to speak at the UN Rio Summit in 1992.


The open forum held at the United Nations Headquarters spotlights the development of five indigenous business projects, focusing on land rights and natural resources in partnership with international businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). Speakers will present challenges and opportunities in these partnerships, and explore new paths to sustainable development that respect land rights and natural resources as the key to the survival of indigenous peoples.

Panelists include: Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda, Veneranda Xochitl Juarez-Varela from Café La Selva, Mexico, Manuel Quezada IX from Community Tours Sian Ka’an, Mexico, Ole Petenya Y. Shani from the Shompole Community Trust in Kenya, Dr. Richard Walley of the Nyoongar people in Australia and Tashka Yawanawá, Chief of the Yawanawa tribe in Brazil.

"This event is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of three communities recognized by the Equator Prize: Café La Selva, Community Tours Sian Ka'an from Mexico, and the Shompole Community Trust from Kenya," says Southey. "We encourage attendees to join us in learning from these exemplary efforts."


Aveda first met the Yawanawá tribe in the early 1990s, when the Company traveled to the Brazilian rainforest to explore partnership possibilities with an uruku plantation. In 1993, Aveda’s first indigenous partnership was born—beginning with a project to cultivate 13,000 seedlings of uruku—a red dye used in Aveda makeup. With the Company’s support, the Yawanawá built a village, called Nova Esperança (New Hope), and planted the uruku on their land.

During the week of April 2, 2006, the Yawanawá tribe began efforts to protect 125,000 acres of rainforest land from loggers. With the support of Aveda and the Brazilian government, the Yawanawá are nearing completion of a successful demarcation of their community’s rich, biodiverse land. The UN forum on May 23rd will serve as a platform for Aveda and the Yawanawá to discuss how corporations can work together with indigenous peoples to impact their land rights.


The UN forum will also celebrate the sustainable economic success recently achieved by aboriginal peoples in Western Australia. In 2004, Aveda helped establish the Songman’s Circle of Wisdom, a sustainable business protocol between the Kuktabubba Aboriginal community, Mt. Romance (a sandalwood supplier) and Aveda—designed to protect the fair trade of natural resources. More recently, the Company has helped the aboriginal peoples gain land rights and access to natural sandalwood resources. As a result, the aboriginal community is now receiving equitable return—seven times more than prior to the new agreement—for the extraction and production of their Australian sandalwood. The UN forum will consider how this story can inspire similar business models for others—and help establish sustainable business paths for future generations.

Aveda, The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences, was founded in 1978 with the goal of providing beauty industry professionals with high performance, botanically based products that would be better for service providers and their guests, as well as for the planet. Aveda manufactures professional plant-based hair care, skin care, makeup, Pure-Fume™ and lifestyle products. Headquartered in Blaine, Minnesota, Aveda is available in Aveda stores, on, and in nearly 7,000 professional hair salons and spas in 24 countries worldwide.

For more information, please contact:

Aveda Global Communications Aveda
Phone: 212.680.5843

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