According to the UN, every year, over two billion tons of waste are generated across the world; and according to the Brazilian Association of Public Sanitation and Special Waste (ABRELPE), Brazil recycles just 4% of the trash it produces every day. 

That state of affairs, plus decades of work by Boticário, a Boticário Group Brand and a leader in reverse logistics for nearly two decades, was the jumping-off point for the brand to develop Project Extinto, which is designed to warn people about the importance of preserving the environment and proper solid waste management.

Created by AlmapBBDO, the initiative is supported by the Boticário Group Foundation for Nature Protection (FGB). Its first stage involved the release of a brand-new fragrance: a reconstruction of the original, unpolluted smell of Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, the second largest on the Brazilian coast, stretching across 380 square kilometers, which has 98 tons of waste dumped into it every day, according to ABRELPE.

The scent, dubbed Extinto and inspired by Guanabara Bay, is the first in a limited run of products which will not be for sale, and which were developed as an urgent call to action to prevent pollution and incorrect waste management from degrading natural reserves. In Brazil today, just 1.1 million of the 27.7 million tons of recyclable waste produced on a daily basis are properly disposed of, coming in far below countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Turkey.

O Boticário – EXTINTO

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The Extinto Project will now continue on to four more continents, warning the world about the scents that may cease to exist if we don’t start improving our waste management. Over the months to come, Boticário will release fragrances inspired by the scents of other landscapes across the world which are currently threatened by pollution: Calabria, in Europe; the island of Madagascar, in Africa; New Delhi, in Asia; and East Arnhem, in Oceania.

“Waste management is a global concern. And that’s why we’re keen to get the conversation going internationally, working to make sure that our urgent message, which stems from Boticário’s genuine concern to ensure that natural scents are never driven to extinction, can be spread across the globe,” says Marcela de Masi, executive director of Branding and Communications at the Boticário Group.

AlmapBBDO also spearheaded the creation of the video manifesto for Extinto, featuring real, shocking footage of Guanabara Bay.

The agency also headed up the design and concept behind the unique, exclusive bottles, which mimic landmarks around the world, among them Guanabara Bay. Through a painstaking process, the glass was sculpted into the silhouettes of landscapes by Brazilian artist Elvira Schuartz.

To broaden the initiative’s impact and get out the word about the launch, Boticário brought Alok on board, as an artist engaged in social and environmental causes through the Instituto Alok, to become a part of the project and help humanize the discussion even further.

“This project isn’t just about getting people to engage with environmental causes, but, above all, about showing the real work that Boticário has put into conserving and helping to restore the environment,” explains AlmapBBDO CCO Marco Giannelli.

To create the fragrance without extracting any raw materials from the bay itself, the brand’s perfumers traveled to the area around Guanabara Bay and used headspace technology to capture samples of aromatic molecules from the environment. Based on a detailed analysis, the team of experts was able to identify the scents present in the better conserved parts of the region and recreate those natural accords using synthetic materials.

The research and development process that produced the fragrance, with notes that evoke the bay’s cool waters and the vibrant green of the forests surrounding it, took around six months. The product is vegan, made up of 93% natural, traceable, organic, circular-chain ingredients, as well as a small percentage of synthetic elements. The result was only possible thanks to the perfumers and environmental specialists at Boticário, who worked together at every step of the way.

Just over a hundred units of each version of Extinto was produced. All were sent to prominent figures who influence their circles and have the potential to leverage the visibility of environmental discussions and impact consumer behaviour. In addition to the campaign and the limited-edition fragrances, Boticário also launched a project to identify ideas and solutions to help mitigate the problem of improper waste disposal in Guanabara Bay, and has increased its investment in messaging and initiatives to dialogue with consumers about recycling, packaging reuse, and measures that can help reduce the extraction of raw and natural materials.