Giral, Brazil, Inform recyclers, social innovation, waste management, social inclusion, democracy, sustainability, equality

Informal Recyclers’ Cart transformed to artistic creation by the graphist Thiago Leite (Mundano)

I have met Giral, especially Mateus Mendonca and Nathalia Lima,  several times in Sao Paulo. Besides sharing caipirinhas and good food,  I always admire their work and their dedication to stimulate social innovation to the very “old world” traditional waste management industry of Brazil. Somehow, I consider them “Brothers in arms”. I was really surprised when I realized that I have not written about them yet, I said “WtF, how is it possible to write for so many companies and initiatives and not for Giral”?  So, please allow me to introduce a great company that drives waste management and recycling towards the so much needed social inclusion. By the way, this is a post collectively signed by the company and its people – enjoy it.

Giral viveiro de projetos

“Every day it is faster: we experience the emergence of new technologies that facilitate lives of people on several sectors and allow a portion of the population to live the highest quality of life that human beings never had throughout history.

The fact is that only a small portion of humanity has access to these innovation privileges. While these advances happen for few, the major portion does not even have access to a proper sanitation services. A recent study performed by Oxfam, found that in 2015 the 1% richest population portion accumulated 48% of the global resources, leaving, on the other extreme, to the poorest, that represents 79% of the World population, only 5.5% of the global resources.

In this scenario, despite of being distressing, there is an ocean of opportunities to organizations that want to contribute to building a more equal horizon. This is a fertile space for the emergence of social innovations.

According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, this is a new approach and solution to old social problems that need to be effective, sustainable and generate a shared value to the collective, in contrast to old models, in which only a few accumulate the benefits generated by the innovations.

Giral people are a little bit more crazy and much more professional than it seems in this photo

Born from common ideas to generate a positive impact and supply support to socio-environmental organizations, three college colleagues founded Giral Viveiro de Projetos on the year of 2007, that today consolidates as a link between the old corporative World and communities more empowered and aware of its rights and duties.

The value generated by Giral’s projects comes from the dialogue and empathy that, summed with the wish to unite different actors and knowledges, is capable to innovate on project planning, searching for new perspectives to the construction of solutions to old problems and the defining indicators to measure the impact generated by projects.

Today, Giral has more than 20 innovators with multiple knowledges and abilities to create content, mobilize resource support from and to third sector organizations, advise management and operation of social business and create strategies to private social investments, and much more.

Giral works with a wide set of organizations from different profiles and acting areas: projects with afro-descendants (quilombola, in portuguese) communities, sewing groups, urban landscapers, cashew nut production cooperatives, among other production initiatives. However, the company stood out for the support and development of recyclable materials pickers communities and now dedicates a great part of its efforts to pickers organizations all over Brazil.

But this did not happen by chance. The absence of planning, transparency and social control on the management of solid waste in Brazil is striking, the levels of waste generation in the country has been increasing year after year, the social inequality is still alarming and waste pickers, either organized and formalized by the Brazilian Solid Waste Act or those who collect recyclables on the streets and dumps, continue to be invisible and subject to political cycles, facing a great difficulty to consolidate their cooperative businesses.

The legislation milestone brought by the Brazilian Solid Waste Act in 2010 propelled the work of organizations that already had been acting to change this situation, focusing on concepts like reverse logistics of materials, sectors agreements and shared responsibility for the products life cycle.

It is notable therefore, that the law searches for a way to a more sustainable, inclusive and efficient solid waste management and integrated actions between different stakeholders from value chains (Manufacturers, importers, distributors, merchants, consumers, among others). The grand challenge, however, is to implement these concepts in practice, since the actors involved in waste management do not have all the managerial and operational abilities to act with competitiveness and on an integrated way.

It is in this gap Giral found a fertile soil, where innovations flourish through the implementation of recycling programs with differentiated approaches.

Giral, Brazil, Inform recyclers, social innovation, waste management, social inclusion, democracy, sustainability, equality

Among the programs Giral manages, there are national inclusive recycling programs for post-consumer packaging waste, as Ambev Recicla and Ser+Realizador (Brasken Initiative in cooperation with companies like Ambev, Bunge, Gerdau and Sebrae). These programs are wide spread throughout all Brazilian regions, in more than 12 states in 19 cities. Only in 2016, Giral performed 108 environmental education initiatives, impacting directly 11,250 people and over 1,940 pickers were benefited with an average income of over R$ 952 a month (approximately US$ 300/month), which is 5.5% higher than the minimum wage (US$ 280/month) in Brazil.

With DIAGEO, an English group of beverage companies, Giral manages Glass is Good®, that is focusing on glass packaging reverse logistics, a material that faces big barriers for recycling, due to heaviness, abundance of virgin raw materials, risks for management, high costs for logistics, which consequently, results in low material value.

In all projects, the activities performed by Giral are from end to end, since content creation and innovative learnings, support on planning, destination, processing and direct commercialization of materials with the recycling industry to activate the institutional development of partner pickers organizations to the planning and strategic management, fundraising and articulation of new investors of programs. As results, there has been project innovation, counseling pickers concerning managerial and operational aspects of recyclable materials’ sorting and local articulation with the public sector and other companies.

Step by step a revolution on global resources management is arriving. We cannot keep doing business as usual. The establishment of programs for materials reinsertion in its original cycles urges the development of technologies. For a better use of material, value chains must be less linear and more circular and recognize the male and female pickers role in it, allowing social and environmental positives impacts, offering development opportunities to these workers, that are results from a system of inequality in recycling. And this is not only a reality in Brazil. Shall we engage citizens from all over the world to a new relationship to, what we’ve wrongly learned to call, waste?

Giral invites you to join this movement! #RecicleMais

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