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Guayaki Yerba Mate Has a Unique Social Business Model

 - Mar 22, 2011
References: guayaki &
Certified by B Corporation, Guayakí is a beverage company that imports an energy drink made out of yerba mate from the South American rainforest. The beverage comes in many forms including bottled cold drinks, cans, energy shots, traditional-style gourds, tea bags and loose leaf. Yerba mate is a plant species native to subtropical South American countries like Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Yerba mate has been cited to have numerous health benefits. Yerba mate contains natural caffeine as well as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Theophylline and theobromine, which are found in yerba mate are also found in other common stimulants like coffee and tea. For those reasons and more, the South American Aché Guayakí tribe have long drank yerba mate as a source of nutrition, rejuvenation, energy, focus and sustenance.

Don’t be fooled by the title "energy drink," because Guayakí isn’t your average energy drink company. For one, the Guayakí Organic Energy Shots contain the natural boosting effects of yerba mate, as well as organic superfood extracts, and come in different flavors including lime tangerine, lemon and chocolate raspberry. The founders follow—and created—a business model called "Market Driven Restoration" which allows profits from Guayakí to go back into rainforest conservation in South America. By adhering to the triple bottom line, success for Guayakí is evaluated according to social justice, environmental stewardship and economic viability. Guayakí has specific social and environmental goals as a social business: to restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest by 2020; to create at least 1,000 fair wage jobs by 2020; and minimize their negative impact on the environment by buying carbon credits.

While Guayakí is based in Sebastopol, California, their impact spans national boundaries. According to the B Corporation website, "each person that drinks two servings per day of Guayakí Yerba Mate helps protect approximately one acre of rainforest every year." By employing people to grow shade-grown yerba mate, which is more sustainable than other income-generating alternatives like cattle grazing, monocrop agriculture and lumber deforestation, Guayakí minimizes the negative environmental impact and maximizes the positive social impact of those living in the rainforests that it does its business in. Guayakí, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, is also able to provide a decent income for yerba mate growers, using fair trade prices and paying more than double the world market price for yerba mate.

Contact Information:
Guayaki Website
6784 Sebastopol Ave.
Sebastopol, CA
United States
Telephone: 888-GUAYAKI