Sambazon is a vertically integrated manufacturer, featuring a supply chain from the forest, where their ingredients grow, to retail cafés and thousands of third party retailers who sell the finished product.
The main character of Sambazon’s supply chain is Açai. Açaí a palm fruit (Euterpe Oleracea). It is a top-ranked wild harvest staple food in urban and rural areas of the Amazon estuary, this tree is of major economic importance on both the private and regional level. Açai represents up to 30% of rural people living in the Amazon’s energy intake. Less then 10% of the Açai growing wild in the Amazon is harvested for human consumption and of the less then 10% is exported. Unfortunately, today technological tools to track the supply chain are limited in the rainforest primarily due to poor internet coverage.
Currently a team of dedicated Sambazon employees travel into these remote areas by boat and work directly with these harvesters to ensure they are following the Sambazon policies of -no child labor, no damaging activities for the forest (clear cutting for farms, illegal mining, harming endangered or threatened animals/plants), paying their workers a fair wage, and democratic community involvement with cost share programs. Sambazon employees also teach safe harvesting practices and sustainable management of the rainforest.
The following are the main practices or steps in Sambazon’s supply chain:
– The company identifies potential harvesting areas and negotiates directly with the communities that are currently harvesting Acai in this area.
– Sambazon certifies the harvesting area under USDA Organic and Fair-trade regulations. This land in the Amazon rainforest may have many different ownership structures, including government owned/protected to privately held. Sambazon does not own land in the rainforest
– The wild harvested fruit from these growers/harvesters is brought to the company’s ultra-modern factories in Brazil for processing into puree; this must happen within 72 hours of harvest to prevent spoilage
– This acai is processed into frozen puree for export for further processing or turned into ready to eat (RTE) products
– Sambazon then distributes and sells the acai products around the world
A percentage of the purchase price of the fruit is reinvested in the communities to finance development projects identified by the communities themselves. With this benefit-sharing mechanism, Sambazon has built, schoolrooms, nursing centers, cafeterias and sports centers in the rural communities of their suppliers.