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Name: Guayapi
Country: France
Active Since: 1990

Member of IFOAM – Organics International since 2003

Guayapi was founded by Claudie Ravel in 1990 after three years of feasibility studies in the Amazon rainforest with the Sateré Mawé tribe on how to build credible and fair value chains in marketing their products, starting with Waraná (original name of Guarana in Sateré Mawé language).

Claudie Ravel and Obadias Batista Garcia, the Warana Project leader in a region of the Sateré-Mawé © Guayapi

Claudie formed a strong bond and partnership with the Sateré Mawé tribe members, which inspired her to collaborate with them on developing an outstanding fair trade with Waraná as the business’s first launched product.

Waraná is a physical and intellectual energiser that became commercialised as a Superfood, which Claudie and her company introduced to Europe in 1990. When other South-American plants like Acerola, Técoma-Lapacho, Muirapuama, Açaï and Unha de Gato-Cat’s Claw were included in the products that the company imported and distributed, it was time for the name to change to Guayapi.

Decades later, Guayapi still selects the best raw materials from Amazonia and Sri Lanka, which it distributes in the form of super foods, cosmetics, food supplements and grocery products.

The Waraná fruit which was the first product Guayapi commercialized © Guayapi

Guayapi demonstrated that it was possible to cooperate with indigenous communities and build profitable and ethical trade arrangements without taking shortcuts because of their significant commitment to not just distributing superfoods but also giving the Amazonian farmers access to remunerative and competitive rates.

Guayapi gradually increased the range of plants used in food supplements and cosmetic items, eventually reaching a global range of 115 products divided into three families: superfoods/food supplements, cosmetics, and fine grocery. An extensive network of 3000 stores in France and throughout Europe distributes these goods.

One of Guayapi’s products © Guayapi

Why Guayapi is unique!

 Guayapi imports and distributes wild-harvested plants from the Amazon and Sri Lanka according to three fundamental criteria:

  • they are organic,
  • they were grown in a way that boosts biodiversity
  • and they uphold the principles of fair trade.

“We at Guayapi believe that organic must be the basis of our food system and production. That is why it natural for us to become a member of IFOAM – Organics International, an organisation that propelled the organic agriculture movement and continues to advocate for organic worldwide”, shares Bastien BEAUFORT, General Manager of Guayapi.

Some of the actors of the Warana Project in the Sateré Mawé community © Guayapi

But beyond choosing organic, the company encourages the inclusion of fair trade and biodiversity in the choices of other companies and organisations.

Guayapi actively collaborates with or is a member of numerous organisations and associations that are authorities on these issues in order to uphold these principles, including, Commerce Equitable France (Fair-Trade France), Cosmebio, the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN-RIFA), Green Peace and IFOAM France.

In order to preserve the priceless richness of the territories from which it draws its raw materials, Guayapi is actively involved in the Forest Garden Product Certification (F.G.P.) program, an international certification system which was created by Dr Ranil Senanayake, the first implementor of Analog Forestry which is a method of silviculture restoration that mimics the ecological function and architectural structure of mature ecosystems.

The FGP, whose standards are part of the IFOAM family of Standards, aims to meet the requirements of organic and fair-trade production and look beyond, to the rehabilitation of ecosystems and biodiversity, including fair trade criteria and indigenous people knowledge. Today, the FGP Certification is the only one, which guarantees organic products while respecting local populations and promoting the rehabilitation of ecosystems and biodiversity.

It is important for Guayapi that their producers like Kusuma Kitul here from Maussawa, Sri-Lanka, are properly compensated © Guayapi

 The intended goal!

Guayapi aspires to empower indigenous communities while restoring nature and valorising the plants from the indigenous lands mainly in economically disadvantaged places with high biodiversity (for instance, Amazonia, Sri Lanka, Peru, Paraguay and Ecuador). They do this by identifying the needs of indigenous peoples for the restoration of ecosystems by rehabilitating and enhancing their culture, know-how and traditional productions. In preserving indigenous culture, indigenous knowledge and plants are preserved as well!

Guayapi had difficulty marketing these superfoods in Europe in the beginning and the lack of a regulatory status for plants that have an effect on health and the physiology the body made it even harder to establish themselves. This is why with a lobbying group called the Professional Union of Botanical and Nutraceutical Supplements (UPSNB), Claudie Ravel and Guayapi finally managed to register the regulatory status of these plants in 1997 which granted them access to European market.

Boosting biodiversity while empowering indigenous communities is vital in the world today © Guayapa

Unfortunately, today, thousands of traditional plants are still not authorised as food products in Europe because of the Novel Food regulation, which defends a reductionist and synthetical-chemical vision of plants and food products without considering the anteriority of users worldwide and the holistic value of the Totum[1] of plants. This is an ongoing challenge that Guayapi continues to look for ways to tackle, for instance, through education.

Education is at the core of Guayapi’s activities. They raise awareness among professionals and the general public on the importance of their values of organic, fair trade and biodiversity during many events they organise, for example, the Fair-Trade fortnight. In addition, they do advocacy work to take into account the application of the most demanding fair and environmental commitments to redirect wealth to rural populations through the recognition of photosynthetic biomass.

Guayapi intends to continue bringing attention to the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss by urging world politicians to develop comprehensive plans and solutions to rebuild the planet’s life support systems. To do this, we must acknowledge the basic importance of photosynthetic biomass and the contribution of indigenous people. Organic, Fair-Trade and Biodiversity economics is the ideal way of doing it!

[1]  Totum is the entire active part of the plant, for instance, the roots, leaves and branches

Learn more about Guayapi