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Project in progress | Community Development

Programa Carnaúba Sustentável


The project will be developed in a pre-selected extractive community in Ceará, among those considered carnauba wax production hubs in the state (Granja, Morrinhos, Marco, Massapê, Cariré and Miraíma). Ceará is the main national producer of carnauba wax. 

Species: Carnauba

(Copernicia cerifera) 

Carnauba is a palm tree native to northeastern Brazil, and its use is dated to centuries old. Essential for ecosystem balance, it helps in soil conservation, protects rivers from erosion and silting, its trunk can be shelter and its fruits are food for native fauna. 


The carnauba chain is a unique experience of sustainable extractivism in the world, as the economic activity is essential to the survival of the exploited plant species. Unexploited carnauba groves are often decimated by the invasive species devil's claw. 

The entire chain depends on a process that involves around 100,000 people in Ceará, for example from cutting the straw, which is done by the poleman with his 10 meter pole cutting the straw. The straws are dried in the shipyards, and after 10 days of drying, the powder is removed to prepare the vegetable wax. Brazil is the only exporter of carnauba wax, often used in the manufacture of cosmetics, medicine capsules, varnishes, soaps, lubricants, etc. 

Community history

The Carnaúba Sustentável project will target around 40 families who work at the base of the carnaúba chain: extractive workers and small rural producers responsible for selling powder to the wax refining industries. 

Carnauba harvesting provides a profitable source of income for many rural workers during the dry period in the Caatinga, notably between August and December, the straw harvesting season. This holds significant importance for the rural population, given that family farming in the Brazilian semi-arid region heavily relies on the rainfall, typically lasting for the initial four months of each year. 

However, extractivism, while a traditional activity, has historically seen limited updates and innovations in its production methods. Consequently, its primary challenges stem from inadequate management techniques, a lack of technology to optimize productivity, and insufficient attention to labor legislation. 

The current operational framework within the carnauba chain is thus marred by informality, deficient health and safety conditions, limited access to information, low profitability, reliance on intermediaries, and substantial losses in wax powder productivity, reaching levels of up to 50%. 

Hence, the project aims to address these bottlenecks by establishing a model community that formalizes carnauba extraction, emphasizing health, workplace safety, and enhanced productivity. This initiative aims to inspire other producers to pursue similar transformations, setting a viable standard within the industry. 

Historical impacts:

1998 — Associação Caatinga foundation 

2016 — Execution start of projects aimed at qualifying the carnaúba production chain in partnership with several institutions  

2022 — Formalization of Boticário’s support for the project 

2023 — Start of project operation  

Jul/23 — Selection of the Carnaubeira community

Full name:

Projeto Carnaúba Sustentável: Strengthening the Carnaúba production chain


12 months.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

The project

The goal of “Programa Carnaúba Sustentável” is to qualify the carnaúba production chain through an educational and training process, with the increase of organization, formalization, health and safety at work, productivity and income gains in a carnauba community, aiming to constitute a model experience with potential for replicability in other areas producing wax dust. 


carnaúba families trained in good carnaúba management practices and use of PPE. 


formal collective production agreement in force. 


solar dryer adapted, implemented and used. 


monitoring visits carried out. 

Project impacts

Project activities

Specific Objective 1 - Contribute to the professionalization and modernization of the carnaúba chain. 

This initiative will entail the formalization of a collective work and production agreement with the chosen community. The process will be overseen and guided by specialists, including accountants and lawyers, with the goal of defining the rights and responsibilities of each participant in the process. Additionally, a workshop will be conducted to elevate the standards of best practices within the carnaúba chain. The workshop aims to address the existing information gap among rural communities, disseminate knowledge, and encourage carnaúba communities to embrace modernization and enhance the quality of their work processes. 

Specific Objective 2 - Improve productivity, health and occupational safety conditions for carnaúba workers, and disseminate traceability techniques. 

The project will provide training on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended for the activity. Additionally, a solar dryer will be implemented to fulfill the community's production demands. This will include adapting a detrimming machine to extract the wax dust, monitored and evaluated by a technical consultant involved in the project. This equipment not only enhances the yield and quality of the wax powder but also reduces the labor required by workers. With this setup, the straws no longer need to be manually turned over and crushed for complete drying, facilitating the release of the powder. 

Specific Objective 3 - Monitor community development and publish the results at the end of the project, to disseminate the work model. 

This monitored process provides the necessary conditions for the development of project activities, so that in the temporal sequence, each activity developed delivers the prerequisites of skills (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for subsequent activities. 


Grupo Boticário

One of the largest beauty groups in the world, Grupo Boticário is a Brazilian company present in 50 countries. It owns the brands O Boticário, Eudora, Quem Disse, Berenice?, BeautyBox, Vult, O.u.i, Dr. JONES, Truss and the Beleza na Web marketplace, in addition to working with licensed products such as Australian Gold and its division for the B2B market. This interaction between different brands, assets, platforms, network of franchisees, representatives, distributors, retailers, sellers and suppliers forms the beauty ecosystem of Grupo Boticário, which also offers digital business management solutions for Brazilian retail through its brands Mooz, Casa Magalhães and GAVB. There are more than 15 thousand direct employees, with more than 4 thousand points of sale in 1,780 Brazilian cities. 

Guided by responsible action towards the planet, society and consumers, the company has ESG embedded in its business model. By 2030, the Group plans to expand the positive impact on society through waste management with the “A Beauty of the Future” platform, which brings together ambitious commitments focused on the human, environmental dimensions and our production processes. 

The history of Grupo Boticário began in 1977 in a small compounding pharmacy in Paraná and today it combines laboratory, factory, innovation, technology, logistics, marketing and retail, in an ecosystem of 64 thousand retail points of sale, partners and suppliers. The company also operates on environmental, social and cultural fronts and has operations with Fundação Grupo Boticário and Instituto Grupo Boticário. Find out more at 

Associação Caatinga

Founded in Ceará in 1998, with the support of the Samuel Johnson Fund for the Conservation of the Caatinga, its mission is to promote the conservation of the lands, forests and waters of this biome, ensuring the permanence of all its forms of life. Associação Caatinga has been working for 25 years to preserve and enhance the only exclusively Brazilian forest, which is threatened and has the greatest biodiversity among the semi-arid regions on the planet.

Bioeconomy platform that enables projects to value Brazilian biodiversity. It has a multidisciplinary team with more than 12 years of experience in project management and corporate communication. Its work has already enabled the operation of 23 projects to enhance biodiversity and created a network of more than 500 organizations and companies active in the socio-environmental cause. 

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