Novo Fogo’s Sustainability Credo: Letter No. 1

General food news

The opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Aug 5th highlighted modern Brazil’s focus on environmental sustainability and preservation. With a third of the world’s rainforests and a third of the world’s living species on its land, Brazil has been the planet’s longest and largest guardian of clean air and biodiversity balance. As deforestation accounts for up to 12% of the world’s CO2 emissions and thus is a major factor in global climate change, it is no surprise that Brazil used this rare opportunity to broadcast an environmental rallying cry to an audience of 3 billion people across the globe.

This goes straight to the heart of why Novo Fogo exists. When Emily and I began dreaming up this brand in 2009, it started with a desire to reward sustainability-minded, land-working Brazilians to keep doing the right thing, grow their businesses, become more visible, and thus become environmental and economic role models for their local peers. The basic concept was to show other Brazilian agricultural businesses – through our own success – that you can do well by doing right.

Upon learning that Brazil’s coastal Atlantic Rainforest had lost 93% of its original landmass due to population growth, we believed that the best stories would be found there. Within a few months, we had met our kindred spirits in the town of Morretes, state of Paraná, at a zero-waste, USDA organic certified distillery that produces what I believe to be the best cachaças on the planet. The rest was simple for our symbiotic partnership, and it eventually led to one company and one mind through our acquisition of the distillery in 2015.

Today, our desire to bring these issues to the surface is hotter than ever, with an increased interest from the US market in cachaça aged in Brazilian woods. Now we are telling the story of how over 300 species of native Brazilian woods are endangered, including most of the popular ones for aging cachaça. This is an issue that must become better understood by the American spirits industry, as it is critical that we continue responsibly incentivize those who work off the land in Brazil, our global environmental guardian.

Thus, on this sunny day in August 2016, to you, my peers and my friends, I promise this: (1) Novo Fogo will always use sustainably and legally-sourced woods to age our cachaças – whether Brazilian, American, or others; and (2) Novo Fogo will use every opportunity we have to educate you on the lay of the environmental land in Brazil and how you – as a cachaça consumer – can become a positive influence to Brazil’s quest to reduce the deforestation of native trees.

Lesson #1: When tasting a new cachaça aged in a native Brazilian wood, ask where the wood was sourced from and whether there are legal papers for it. Do not incentivize the illegal trade of endangered native woods through complacence.  

With love,
Dragos Axinte