- DiCaprio’s investment in RUNA is being called an innovative model for environmental philanthropy.
- DiCaprio donated a portion of his investment to the Coordinating Organization of the indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin (COICA), an advocacy group dedicated to ensuring Amazonian indigenous peoples’ rights and conserving the forests in their traditional territories.
- Indigenous Kichwa communities traditionally drink guayasa, a naturally caffeinated tree leaf brewed like tea, early in the morning and late at night.
Leonardo DiCaprio called world leaders assembled at the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement at UN headquarters in New York the “last best hope” to save mankind from the impacts of runaway climate change.
But that’s not stopping the Academy Award winner and environmental activist from taking action on his own. It was announced yesterday that DiCaprio has made an investment in RUNA, a beverage company that makes its products out of guayusa, a tea leaf from the Ecuadorian Amazon. RUNA sources its guayusa from over 3,000 indigenous farming families.
Going a step further, DiCaprio then donated a portion of his investment to the Coordinating Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin (COICA), an advocacy group dedicated to ensuring Amazonian indigenous peoples’ rights and conserving the forests in their traditional territories.
“I am so proud to join with RUNA in supporting the indigenous people of the Amazon,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “The future of these communities, and many like them across the world, are at risk as their native lands are exploited for natural resource and agricultural development. Sustainable farming practices are key to helping ensure a brighter future for so many local people.”
DiCaprio’s investment in RUNA is being called an innovative model for environmental philanthropy.
“Through this investment and donation, now RUNA not only supports indigenous peoples and forest conservation through the purchase of the raw product, but also built in a more direct form of ownership by indigenous peoples in the company itself,” Environmental Defense Fund’s Chris Meyer, trustee for COICA’s endowment, told Mongabay.
“We must all do everything we can to help indigenous and local people who too often suffer the worst environmental degradation, and are most at risk from climate change,” DiCaprio added. “Empowering them to stand up and fight back against the outside interests that threaten their survival is a cause that must be championed.”
Indigenous Kichwa communities drink guayasa, a naturally caffeinated tree leaf brewed like tea, early in the morning and late at night, to help interpret dreams and to provide energy and clarity while hunting, according to the RUNA website.
DiCaprio is not the first celebrity backer of RUNA. Actor and comedian Marlon Wayans, actor Adam Rodriguez (CSI Miami, Magic Mike), and professional tennis players John Isner and Steve Johnson have also invested in the company.
“Our vision for RUNA was inspired by the rich spirit of family and collaboration in the Amazonian communities that revere guayusa tea, and we’re very grateful that the quality
of our products and integrity of our vision has attracted such a great group of supporters,” RUNA co-founder Tyler Gage said in a statement.