New York-based Runa LLC announced that Academy Award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio recently invested in the company and will join the company’s advisory board. Other investors include actor and comedian Marlon Wayans, actor Adam Rodriguez and professional tennis players John Isner and Steve Johnson, the company says. This group joins existing Runa supporters, including actor Channing Tatum, who was an early investor, it adds.
Runa products are made with guayusa that is sustainably produced by 3,000 indigenous farming families in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the company says. “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 resources and agricultural development. Sustainable farming practices are key to helping ensure a brighter future for so many local people.”
DiCaprio’s investment in the brand is an innovative model for environmental philanthropy, the company says. He plans to donate his shares to indigenous community groups in the Amazon, thereby making them direct shareholders in Runa’s future, it adds.
“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,” added DiCaprio. “Empowering them to stand up and fight back against the outside interests that threaten their survival is a cause that must be championed.”
Runa Co-Founder Tyler Gage added: “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.”
DiCaprio joins World Wildlife Fund President Yolanda Kakabadse and Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Executive Director of UNICEF Ann Veneman as a member of the company’s Advisory Board, it adds.
Runa’s line-up of 100 percent Organic and Fair Trade products includes ready-to-drink iced teas and carbonated clean energy drinks, which are available at retailers across the country including Whole Foods Market and Safeway as well as on Amazon.com.