Helio Mattar

Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption
Year founded: 

The Akatu Institute motivates Brazilians to use the power of their daily choices as consumers to effect large-scale social change in creating a more sustainable planet.

Focus: Consumer Awareness
Geographic Area of Impact: Brazil
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 100,000 (2009)
Annual Budget: US$ 2.3 million (2009)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 0%
Recognition: Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum

Every act of consumption causes an impact – positive or negative – on the economy, social relations, nature and people. Consumer choice, therefore, has a lot to do with solving the present lack of sustainability of life on the planet.

Consumers can maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts of their consumption, thereby contributing to building a better world, when they are more conscious of these impacts at the time of purchase. This is “conscious consumption” – consumption with consciousness of its impact and directed towards sustainability. Conscious consumption is an opportunity for individuals to contribute to social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Consumers and investors must demand a change in the way companies measure success. Citizens, starting with youth, need to be well informed so that they can make the correct choices regarding their consumption patterns. It is therefore important to educate people about the impacts of individual consumption and to encourage consumers to change their behaviours.

Innovation and Activities
The Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption motivates citizens to use the power of their daily choices as consumers to effect large-scale social change. The Akatu Institute works to develop awareness, motivate and mobilize citizens to exercise their individual and collective consumer power. This is done through activities in the areas of communications and education, directed mainly at community leaders, students and employees of partner companies.

The Entrepreneur
Helio Mattar has created a number of ground-breaking organizations in Brazil that foster individual consumer consciousness and corporate social responsibility. His approach recognizes that social organizations and governments are critical partners in the diffusion of social innovation. Mattar believes that each individual, as a citizen and consumer, plays a critical role in mobilizing support for initiatives with high social impact. Pursuing this conviction, he has dedicated himself full-time to his role as President of the Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption.

An engineer by training, with a PhD in Industrial Management and Engineering from Stanford University, Mattar served as a corporate Chief Executive Officer, a Brazilian federal government secretary and a successful business entrepreneur before dedicating himself to the non-profit sector. He co-founded the Ethos Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, an association of companies interested in developing socially and environmentally responsible activities, and remains on its board of directors. The Akatu Institute has been recognized by the UN Global Compact as one of the 100 notable non-profit social actors with proven competency in partnering with companies.