In 2011, Argentinian NGO Banco de Bosques started a campaign to create the Fidelidad National Park on a 250 000-hectare area in the Chaco region, a strategic region for biodiversity conservation in Argentina. These kinds of campaign generally require two main things: money and awareness. Banco de Bosques therefore sought and found a partner to support the project on both accounts: Villavicencio, Danone’s water brand in Argentina. Together, they built a relatively simple but innovative programme: for each bottle they sold, Villavicencio committed to protect one square metre of forest in the Fidelidad National Park. The operation was given the name “Dejá tu Huella” (Leave your mark) and was accompanied by a communications campaign (watch the advertisement film here) and a festival that took place this summer. It also competed in the 2012 Dan Awards, that rewards the most innovative bottom-up projects inside Danone.
The first National Park to be created by the public
What Villavicencio and Banco de Bosques are now doing is the perfect example of what can be achieved, with a great deal of co-creation and crowdfunding, to protect the environment and ensure its sustainability. They are, in fact, creating the first National Park in Argentina to be supported by public subscriptions. And they are showing how well corporate companies and NGOs can work together, when they share a common interest and goal. Prior to the Festival, Facundo Etchebehere, Corporate Affairs Director at Danone Argentina, explained how this action is to be understood within the frame of other initiatives led by Danone in the country:
We are very proud and happy with the result of this campaign, which has enabled us to deepen our commitment to sustainability, by going a step further and replicating the preservation actions that we have already conducted in our Nature Reserve in Mendoza. It is also a way to complement other long-term actions that we are implementing, like the reduction of our water footprint and gas emissions.
His satisfaction was shared by the founder and president of Banco de Bosques, Emiliano Ezcurra, who explained that
the campaign with Villavicencio has helped us raise both funds and awareness on the importance of caring for our natural heritage, which is key to guaranteeing the lives of generations to come.
The Fidelidad National Park is in the early stages of its existence – the land has just been bought this year – and there is still a lot to do. However, there is a certain enthusiasm spreading around the project. At the “Dejá tu Huella” festival, thousands gathered to form the “world’s biggest human fingerprint”, an endeavour that was assessed by a delegation of the Guiness World Records. This is how you begin to leave a positive mark.