Sustainability Director for Latin America
Organization Natura Cosmeticos S/A
At Brazil’s Natura & Co., Denise Hills helps put protection of the Amazon front and center of the cosmetics company’s sustainability values.
A platform co-developed by Natura monitors deforestation in real time, part of the company’s commitment to protect the Amazon amid climate change and its ambition to achieve zero deforestation by 2025. Natura’s valuation and market instruments are aimed at reducing inequality that affects traditional populations, and it prioritizes nature-based solutions, biodiversity and human rights, all guided by the Sustainb le Development Goals, she says.
“I am a good news and inspirational spokesperson of a positive business force for the planet and society,” said Hills, the Sustainability Director for Latin America at Organization Natura Cosmeticos S/A.
“I work to encourage more and more people within the organization to perceive themselves as responsible for thinking about and making sustainability happen based on the company's strategy as a daily practice,” she told the UN Global Compact. “My inspiration is that the 18,000 employees of Natura & Co group in Latin America apply sustainability on a daily basis as a strategy for their areas and business.”
Founded in 1969, the cosmetics multinational Natura offers more than 2,000 products and has 45 company-owned stores. It says it works with local communities and families in the Amazon region to help them design sustainable business models that benefit the forest.
Hills was named the 2022 SDG Pioneer for Sustainable Finance by the UN Global Compact. The programme each year honors business professionals who advocate for the 17 Sustainable Finance Goals.
“Since the beginning of my career in financial markets, I have defended the systematization and incorporation of sustainability into day-to-day decisions,” she said.
“We say that one of the great impacts we leave on the world is what kind of product I have to offer our consumers and how it ends up in the environment,” she said. “The successful businesses of the future will be those that proactively respond to the global challenges of today, looking for the SDGs as THE reference for transformational business through the innovations that drive impactful change.”
Hills also has overseen the launch of Kaiak Oceano by Natura's innovation and perfumery team, a program that advances the use of recycled glass and plastic.
She joined Natura in 2019 with a strong background in finance from the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), working with banks and insurers.
“I believe that we have advanced towards a clear perception that the SDGs are excellent innovation references to implement a sustainability mindset,” she said. “There is a growing understanding in the business sector that to be in a society and to be chosen by it, it is necessary to generate a positive impact.
“Only then people will choose to work or invest in your company or consume your products and services.”