The company trains and values its team members and gives them opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

Danielly Duarte Meira

Efficient Use of
Natural Resources

The company trains and values its team members and gives them opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

Danielly Duarte Meira

Efficient Use of Natural Resources

The performance of our agricultural and industrial activities is continually monitored and we have mechanisms to improve our performance in terms of the sustainable development our business and the rational and efficient use of the natural resources required to produce bioenergy, ethanol and sugar. Our management adopts a set of eco-indicators that are periodically measured and assessed, for which annual improvement targets are set.

In the 2015/2016 crop year, we invested R$24.8 million in environmental management. Of this total, 91% was allocated to preventive practices and environmental management, which includes the compensation of the Health, Environment and Safety (HES) teams at each Unit and the investments in environmental monitoring and permits and in process improvements. Every year, we define the amounts of environmental investments and expenditures, which are monitored on a monthly basis. G4-EN31Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

One of the aspects we monitor monthly is the consumption of materials and we seek to capture operating efficiency gains in order to reduce as much as possible the amount of production inputs consumed. In the 2015/2016 crop year, during which we processed 29.3 million tons of sugarcane, we consumed 471,000 tons of raw materials and 95.6 million liters of diesel. G4-EN1Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Total materials consumed in the 2015/2016 crop year (ton) G4-EN1Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Own cane processed 23,344,178
Outside cane processed 5,948,454
Subtotal 29,292,632
Agricultural inputs  
Soil correction 377,280
Insecticides 266
Fungicides 28
Herbicides 3,013
Fertilizers 67,488
Other organic fertilizers 441
Subtotal 448,516
Industrial inputs
Calcium oxide 10,193
Sulfuric acid 9,278
Hydrochloric acid 76
Caustic soda 2,207
Antibiotics 9
Inorganic chemicals 320
Organic chemicals 812
Subtotal 22,895
Total 29,764,043

*Only sugarcane is considered a material made from renewable resources.

The consumption of diesel is monitored by a specific eco-indicator, which measures the fuel’s use during cutting and loading per ton of sugarcane harvested by the Company and its Partners. In the last year, this ratio was 1.96 liters of diesel per ton of cane, down 2% from the 2014/2015 crop year, reflecting the optimization of the number of harvesters in operation and the individualized control of the yields of these machines. For the next crop year, our goal is to strengthen maintenance initiatives and to rationalize the use of these machines.

Diesel consumption in harvest operations (liters/ton of cane harvested)

Water resources

The withdrawal of surface and ground water at units is required to supply the industrial operations for processing sugarcane and for producing ethanol and sugar. On the other hand, our sugarcane fields are nourished by advanced fertigation techniques (with the reuse of the water used by the industrial operations) and by rainwater, which avoids the need to withdraw water for irrigation – with the exception of the Goiás Cluster.

In the 2015/2016 crop year, our total water withdrawal amounted to 36.6 million cubic meters, or 14% more than in the previous crop year, due to the 23% increase in total sugarcane crushed. Of this amount, we were able to reuse 16 million cubic meters (44%) through semi-closed water recirculation systems at units, the use of condensed steam to cool pieces of equipment and the reuse of wastewater, which is mixed into the vinasse obtained from sugarcane processing and used to fertigate the cane fields. The remaining 56% of the water withdrawn is incorporated into our products, such as ethanol, or lost due to evaporation. Through this practice, we also ensure that the operation is free from wastewater discharge. G4-EN8Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement G4-EN10Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

*Groundwater withdrawal volumes were estimated based on the licenses granted, except for the São Paulo Cluster, where groundwater wells are equipped with flow meters.

Water consumption in the industrial operations (m³/ ton of sugarcane processed)

Through our eco-indicators, we periodically monitor water consumption in our industrial operations per ton of cane processed. In the 2015/2016 season, this indicator was 1.09 m./ton, with this performance 4% above the target set for the period and 4% lower than in the previous crop year. This improvement was made possible by the higher volume of sugarcane crushed and by the increased operating stability of units, but we are studying new water-reuse initiatives. We also are planning to update the water balances of the Production Clusters in order to better understand the opportunities for improving our performance.


Our operations are energy self-sufficient, producing all of the energy consumed by the industrial activities during the crop year by burning biomass (sugarcane bagasse) in high-technology boilers. The surplus power generated by our Units, which is one of products of our business, is sold to Brazil’s power grid and remunerated through sales agreements signed at auctions in the regulated market. Depending on our commercial strategy, our bioenergy also may be sold in the free market, in which manufacturers and other large consumers purchase energy. In the 2015/2016 crop year, we generated over 3,000 GWh of power, of which approximately 70% was sold.  G4-EN3Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Although we sell surplus power, we have developed various improvements in our processes and equipment in order to reduce power consumption by our operations. Some of the main initiatives include optimizing the use of steam generated from the burning of biomass and optimizing the industrial cooling towers. In the administrative offices, we constantly conduct campaigns to raise awareness among our Team Members.

Another improvement in the 2015/2016 crop year was the development of an eco-indicator to assess, on a daily basis, energy consumption in the agroindustrial operations per ton of sugarcane processed. Performance in the period served as the basis for the establishment of targets for the next three years. For the 2016/2017 crop year, one of our challenges is to review the energy balance of our units, which will give us a more in-depth understanding of the opportunities for improvement.

Energy consumed by the agroindustrial operations (kWh/ton of sugarcane crushed)

Contribution from sugarcane biomass

The share of biomass among the energy sources for power generation granted in Brazil by the National Electricity Agency (Aneel) is 8.7%, behind hydropower (66.7%) and thermal power fired by fossil fuels (17.5%). In 2015 compared to 2014, cogeneration by sugar and ethanol producers increased nearly 4%, from 19.4 TWh to 20.2 TWh. Meanwhile, cogeneration at our units grew 39% to 2.1 TWh, which represents 10.4% of the country’s total.

According to the Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) and the Cogeneration Power Industry Association (COGEN), the amount of power supplied by companies in the industry led to the saving of 14% of the water from reservoirs of the Southeast/Midwest subsystem, which concentrates the country’s main hydroelectric plant, since cogeneration is concentrated in the period with the lowest rainfall in the region. Moreover, 8.6 million tons of CO2 emissions were avoided, which is equivalent to planting 60 million native trees over the course of 20 years.

In the last six years, the supply of energy by the sugar and ethanol industry to the interconnected grid grew by 129.5%. Nevertheless, 2015 recorded the third-lowest volume of bioelectricity from sugarcane biomass sold in new energy auctions in the regulated environment since the model was adopted in 2004.

Sugarcane bioelectricity generation (TWh)

Sugarcane bioelectricity sold in regulated auctions (MW average)


Head of Sustainability | Mônica Alcântara
Head of Corporate Communication | Andressa Saurin
GRI consulting and writing | Usina82
Graphic design | Versal Editores
Web development | Agência Dinamite
Photography | Anderson Meneses, Eduardo Moody e Lourenço Furtado

We thank all Team Members of Odebrecht Agroindustrial who participated in the preparation of this publication.