Ana Lucia Trujillo
Ivan Darío Lobo
Universidad de los Andes Colombia
AMICHOCÓ Foundation was a private non-profit organization operating since 1996 in the Colombian department of Chocó, one of the poorest in the country and characterized by being largely inhabited by ethnic minorities of African origin and enjoying one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. The Foundation implemented productive projects that help improve the living conditions in communities within a framework of social and environmental sustainability. In this line, in 2000, the Foundation encouraged the creation of Oro Verde Corporation (hereinafter, OVC), a cross-sector alliance involving, in addition to AMICHOCÓ, three local social organizations. OVC developed the Green Gold program that considered conventional small- scale mining as a productive alternative that could be integrated to specific market niches. The case depicts the overall situation of Chocó department and the importance of the mining industry to its economy. It also describes OVC’s inception and the role played by AMICHOCÓ in its creation, and provides a detailed account of the Green Gold program, with an emphasis on its value proposition: a business model that articulated traditional gold production in Chocó with green international markets. In addition, it recounts the concerns expressed by community representatives with regard to the model’s efficiency and its capacity to create economic value. These concerns raised the possibility of building alliances with medium-scale private mechanized mining companies in order to enhance the model’s economic impact. Exhibits provide information on the characteristics of Chocó department, social and environmental impacts of medium-scale mining, environmental conservation criteria governing the Green Gold model, and estimated economic results for conventional mining and mechanized mining operations.