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Amazon Rainforest ‘Tops’ Forbes' Billionaires List

The campaign from Natura, Forbes and Africa Creative highlights the power of the Amazon’s $317B bioeconomy and that the standing forest is worth seven times more than the potential earnings from its destruction.

Move over, Elon Musk: The Amazon Rainforest has topped Forbes’ ranking of the world’s richest billionaires in a special advertising campaign by global beauty brand Natura.
The Amazon earned the distinction thanks to its staggering $317 billion valuation, as calculated by the World Bank in 2023.

This edition of Forbes’ annual billionaires list featuring the Amazon Rainforest as the richest entity in the world goes live online today, with a corresponding print edition to be released on May 10. This groundbreaking branded-content activation was conceived in partnership with São Paulo-based Natura and its Brazilian agency, Africa Creative.

“Over more than 20 years of intense work in the Amazon, we have had the privilege of demonstrating to Brazil and the world that it is possible to respect the region's socio-biodiversity and value the knowledge of traditional communities through regenerative practices”, said Natura CMO and global head of Innovation Tatiana Ponce. “Now, once again, this has been proven; and we highlight the incomparable wealth coming from the standing forest, achieved through the sustainable development of the Amazon region, which enables us to create high-performance products based on bio-innovation and biodiversity.”

The power of the bioeconomy

Image credit: Forbes

Natura’s campaign comes as the cosmetics giant is celebrating its 55th anniversary of creating many of its wide range of beauty and personal care products with natural ingredients sourced from the Amazon — and as businesses and governments begin to wrap their heads around accurately valuing nature and understanding our impacts on the natural world. It also comes hot on the heels of UN Live’s Sounds Right initiative — which aims to finally pay Nature royalties for her contributions to life and culture by prompting conversation, raising funds for conservation and inspiring millions of fans to take action.

Once called the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon — the world’s largest rainforest, which accounts for more than half of the planet's remaining rainforest and is home to more than half the world's species of plants and animals — has long been heralded for its rich biodiversity and importance as a carbon sink. But thanks to ongoing, rampant deforestation — mostly from cattle ranching — its capacity to absorb carbon has been greatly diminished; and a 2021 study found that the forest was emitting more carbon than it absorbed. Brazil’s environment ministry has reported the rate of deforestation in the Amazon fell by nearly 50 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year; but efforts to not only preserve, but regenerate, the critical ecosystem remain to be seen.

Over the years, Natura has developed a strong reputation as a pioneer in leveraging the bioeconomy of the Amazon. By focusing on sustainable business practices, Natura has been instrumental in demonstrating that the forest’s value extends far beyond timber or agricultural land. Over the past 24 years, Natura has worked diligently with local communities to harvest bioactive ingredients for cosmetics — ensuring that preserving the forest is more profitable than exploiting it. Their efforts have led to the preservation of over 2 million hectares of forest and have positively impacted the lives of more than 10,000 families.

A strategic collaboration

The special Forbes cover is a symbolic representation of a broader message from Natura — that the Amazon’s preservation is economically critical for the planet. The partnership between Natura, Forbes and Africa Creative showcases that the standing forest is worth seven times more than the potential earnings from its destruction.

“At Africa Creative, it's a monumental achievement to showcase the immense value of the standing Amazon on the cover of Forbes' Billionaires issue,” said Joanna Monteiro, co-CCO of Africa Creative. “We approached Forbes with a concept that transcended traditional advertising norms because we believed the message about the Amazon's economic and environmental significance needed a grand stage. Forbes recognized the unique, critical importance of this message and the execution [and] readily agreed to the special cover. There's no one better suited to highlight the unparalleled value of the Amazon than Natura.”

The cover features a vivid depiction of the Amazon’s lush biodiversity, symbolizing the wealth of life that it holds. Readers will find the conventional cover beneath, linking the extraordinary story of the Amazon with the influential content of Forbes' global billionaires' list.

Founded in 1969, Natura is a Brazilian hygiene and cosmetics multinational whose purpose is to create products and services that promote wellbeing. A leader in the direct-sales sector in Brazil with a strong omnichannel presence, it has 2 million consultants in Latin America. A sustainability pioneer, in 1983, Natura became the first Brazilian cosmetics brand to offer refills in its portfolio. At the end of the 1990s, it began including ingredients from Brazilian socio-biodiversity, especially the Amazon, in its products; and in 2014, it became the first publicly traded company to receive B corporation certification.

A longtime investor in the regeneration of the Amazon and the communities within it, it became a central tenet of Natura's business with the formation of its Commitment to Life” strategy in 2020.

As Natura continues to lead efforts in sustainable development, the brand hopes its collaboration with Forbes will inspire other brands and communities worldwide to rethink how they value our natural resources. The campaign puts a spotlight on the potential of bioeconomy as a transformative force for good, demonstrating that economic incentives can align with environmental stewardship.