Being Odebrecht Agro gives me a great sense of satifaction, because the company is concerned with the physical integrity of its Team Members and HES always comes first.

Jucileide Felix da Silva

Environmental
Impact

Being Odebrecht Agro gives me a great sense of satifaction, because the company is concerned with the physical integrity of its Team Members and HES always comes first.

Jucileide Felix da Silva

Environmental Impact

Our production process and the products we make provide benefits to the environment and play a key role in the low-carbon economy. Some of the main positive impacts include the sequestration of carbon from the air due to the change in land use resulting from the cultivation of sugarcane on previously degraded areas. Furthermore, the use of our products – such as electricity generated by renewable sources (biomass) and ethanol – as an alternative to fossil fuels helps prevent greenhouse gas air emissions. This effectively reinforces our commitment to Brazil’s sustainable development.

In the Paris Agreement signed at COP-21, Brazil set targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030 (from the level in 2005), supported by increasing the sustainable use of bioenergy and the share of renewable resources in the country’s energy profile. According to UNICA, sugarcane biomass corresponds to only 8.7% of Brazil’s authorized power generation capacity (read more here).

The consumption of the ethanol and the electricity we produced in the 2015/2016 crop year instead of the gasoline and fossil fuels used by thermal power plants avoided the emission of 5.5 million tons of CO2-equivalent (tCO2e). G4-EN27Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Emissions avoided by the use of products made by Odebrecht Agroindustrial (million tCO2e)

The benefits from the use of sugarcane as a source of bioenergy generation were verified by a study conducted by researchers at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), in 2011. Supported by a comprehensive database and a consolidated tool for lifecycle analyses, the experts concluded that GHG emissions during the production of sugar from sugarcane are estimated at 234 grams of CO2-equivalent per kilogram produced, which is considerably less than the emissions from sugar made from beetroot. The consumption of anhydrous ethanol as fuel is estimated to produce 21.3 grams of CO2-equivalent per megajoule of energy generated, which corresponds to mitigating around 80% of GHG emissions compared to the use of conventional gasoline.

Made from renewable resources and helping to capture and sequester carbon dioxide in the soil, sugarcane ethanol is already used by the chemical industry to manufacture products with lower environmental impacts. One such solution is green polyethylene, which uses the biofuel as feedstock, instead of fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas.

Green polyethylene features the same technical properties, appearance and versatility as its traditional counterpart, but helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can be recycled in the same chain as fossil-based products. Moreover, because it is not biodegradable, the new product maintains the CO2 captured during its lifecycle.

Grievance mechanisms

To ensure safer processes, we also have mechanisms in place that are capable of identifying, monitoring and reducing potential negative impacts from our activities. We verify annually the compliance with environmental legal requirements of our units through third-party verification. In the 2015/2016 crop year, we improved this process by investing in comprehensive evaluations of all applicable legal environmental requirements, with action plans created to address incidents of noncompliance and consolidating evidence of the aspects that are compliant. Until the previous crop year, verification practices were conducted based on sampling, which made it difficult to manage the aspects already compliant with legislation. We also began to implement a system to support the monthly monitoring of each of the items assessed in the annual audits and monitor the execution of action plans. The system was implemented as a pilot project at the Água Emendada Unit and will be rolled out to the other two clusters in the 2016/2017 crop year, effectively encompassing all units by the end of the 2017/2018 crop year. G4-DMAClick here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Through the Ethics Hotline, a relationship channel for all our stakeholders, we receive grievances involving the environmental impact of our activities. In the 2015/2016 crop year, we received three grievances: one at the São Paulo Cluster related to an agricultural fire and two at the Taquari Cluster related to the proliferation of stable flies, for which vinasse offers an environment propitious for their proliferation.  G4-EN34Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

 

Agricultural fires (number of occurrences/million tons of cane harvested)*

*Considers only fires caused by internal factors.

Pioneering system to monitor the occurrence of lightning and prevent fires

60%
decrease in the reaction time to fires in the agricultural área

To minimize the impacts from the proliferation of stable flies, we conduct fertigation in accordance with the parameters of environmental legislation and with the Vinasse Application Plans. We also established mechanisms for dialoging and interacting with local Communities and cattle farmers and work in partnership with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) to adopt control measures (read more here). G4-EN34Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Regarding the fire complaint at the São Paulo Cluster, we demonstrated (by presenting documents and evidence of the practices adopted) that the fire was caused by arson perpetrated by third parties. G4-EN34Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Our agricultural operations are mechanized and we do not adopt the practice of burning the sugarcane before harvest. Nevertheless, the cane fields, which are located in regions prone to atmospheric discharges, are exposed to the risk of fire. Our management system features an eco-indicator for agricultural fires per ton of sugarcane crushed, which is monitored on a weekly basis. The São Paulo, Araguaia and Eldorado clusters achieved their control targets for the 2015/2016 crop year, reflecting the disciplined application of the Critical Activity Requirement (RAC) for Agricultural Fires included in our Attitude System. The Company’s global rate of 1.39 was 16% above our target for the period, but 23% better than in the previous crop year.

At the Rio Claro Unit, with the support of the Atmospheric Discharges Monitoring Center (FUNCATE/INPE), we developed a pioneering system for the sugar and energy industry to monitor the occurrence of lightning and prevent fires in our operations, in both our sugarcane fields and industrial facilities. An area with a radius of 10 kilometers from the unit is monitored 24 hours a day and alerts are issued 30 minutes to 1 hour in advance when the region is subject to risks, thereby preventing losses in the agroindustrial activities and ensuring the safety of our Team Members.

With this tool, which has been in operation since April 2014, the response time for fires in agricultural areas was reduced by 60% because as soon as the alerts are issued, the fire brigades, which are positioned in strategic locations with greater visibility of the planted areas, are ready to act. Furthermore, the improved knowledge of the risks and operational safety supported an improvement of around 34% in the productivity of the ethanol loading and shipping areas, which are activities that previously were always interrupted by the threat of rain.

Solid waste management

In the operation and management of our Business, we strive to reduce the generation of solid waste and ensure its reuse or proper destination. Two eco-indicators, which are monitored on a monthly basis, are used to set targets for these goals.

The first indicator aims to reduce the disposal of solid waste in landfills and, for the 2015/2016 crop year, our performance beat our target by 59%. The second indicator seeks to reduce contaminated solid waste destined for thermal destruction. In this respect, our performance was 18% better than the target for the period and 14% better than in the previous crop year.

One of the factors enabling this improvement was the implementation of the Critical Activity Requirements (RAC) for Solid Waste. The units also adopted initiatives such as installing special receptacles for recyclable materials and contaminated waste, training teams on how to better separate waste and developing alternatives for disposal and reuse.

We ensure that all of the solid waste generated by our activities reaches the proper destination and is sent to authorize partner companies by conducting site visits and monitoring throughout the year, in accordance with our standards. The process is controlled by means of Solid Waste Transport Manifests (MTR), the invoices of the contracted companies and Destination Certificates. In the 2015/2016 crop year, our operations generated 6,200 tons of solid waste. G4-EN23Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

Solid waste disposed of in landfills (tons)

Contaminated solid waste (tons of solid waste/million tons of own sugarcane harvested)

Solid waste disposal (t) G4-EN23Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

  2015/2016
Hazardous
Recycling 236.7
Recovery 186.1
Incineration 0.5
Co-processing 780.0
Subtotal 1,203.4
Non-hazardous
Recycling 2,683.9
Recovery 434.4
Incineration 25.1
Co-processing 1,193.2
Landfills 332.0
Composting 240.3
Other 105.6
Subtotal 5,014.5
Total 6,217.9

Air Emissions

Odebrecht Agroindustrial has prepared its inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for the last three years using a specific methodology for the sugar and energy industry developed by researchers at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). The tool is based on international references, such as ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and the guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the European Renewable Energy Directive, in addition to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations (UN).

With the support of this survey, we were able to verify that the net Mitigation Effect of our activities is positive, since our production process captures more gases than it emits. In addition, the main contribution is from the emissions avoided by the use of our products. In the 2015/2016 crop year, we registered net mitigation of 5.9 million tons of CO2-equivalent (tCO2e), which is 51% higher than in the prior crop year, which is explained by the higher production, with most of the volume corresponding to the emissions avoided by using our products (line B of the following table).

GHG emissions inventory (million tCO₂e)*

  2015/2016 2014/2015
A. Emissions related to production, processing, transportation and inputs 0.9 1.3
B. Emissions avoided by the use of ethanol as a fuel and surplus electricity 5.9 3.8
C. Carbon inventory due to Land Use Change (LUC)** 1.3 1.4
Net mitigation effect
(A-B-C)
5.9 3.9

*Considers the three main greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O), which are used as characterization factors for conversion into tCO2e and for the global warming potential for a 100-year horizon (AGWP100) defined by IPCC (2013).

**LUC estimates present some uncertainty due to the deficiency of data for soil carbon stocks in equilibrium. The calculation methodology used considered the default factors for Tier 1 of the IPCC and was improved with more recent and regional data from the Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD).

Odebrecht Agroindustrial joins the GHG Protocol Program

To participate in a global emissions inventory platform, we drafted, in 2016, our first report in accordance with the guidelines of the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program, which focused on the emissions produced by the entire Company. Under this model, an emissions inventory was conducted for fiscal year 2015 (instead of the crop year) considering scopes 1, 2 and 3. This methodology considers changes in land use (in our case, for example, biogenic removal) but does not subtract its share in the final result or measure the effect of net mitigation. In our inventory, this removal amounts to approximately 1.3 million tCO2e under scope 1 and 250,000 tCO2e under scope 3.

Under scope 1, a total of 638,000 tCO2e of gross direct emissions and another 5.8 million tCO2e of biogenic emissions were reported. Under scope 2 emissions amounted to 1,700 tCO2e, reflecting the low consumption of power from the grid, which is required only during the off-season period, and under scope 3 amounted to 325,000 tCO2e. These results excluded the Alcídia Unit in São Paulo, which was idled during 2015, and included emissions from the offices in São Paulo and Campinas. The inventory considered the gases CO2, CH4 and N20 and adopted the operational control approach for consolidation.

logo-membro-2016

Biodiversity

Our agricultural and industrial operations are conducted near environmental preservation and protection areas and therefore require the management of any risks of negative impacts on biodiversity and the soil. Two important instruments, the Environmental Monitoring of Fauna and Flora and the Vinasse Application Plan, help to minimize these risks. Through these mechanisms, we avoid contaminating the soil and ensure the continuous monitoring of the conditions of the species living in the areas surrounding our units.

The fauna and flora surveys conducted showed that our operations do have significant impacts on biodiversity. The findings of these studies are presented annually to the state environmental agencies. For our Agricultural Partners, we adopt the same level of excellence, which includes thoroughly assessing areas prior to and during supply contracts, offering technical support and requiring full compliance with the law, including with regard to maintaining preservation areas and legal reserves.

We also promote partnerships with civil society organizations and local governments to preserve the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes in which our facilities are located. The São Paulo Cluster is part of the Connectivity Program for the region of Pontal do Paranapanema, which creates ecological corridors that help to protect endemic species. In this context, the cluster offers technical support to Agricultural Partners on how to adequately maintain preservation areas and legal reserves, works jointly with the São Paulo State Land Foundation Institute (ITESP) on the reforestation of settlements near the units and donates seedlings to the municipalities of Teodoro Sampaio, Euclides da Cunha and Mirante do Paranapanema. The Araguaia Cluster houses a nursery of saplings native to the Cerrado biome, which are used to reforest owned areas and the areas of our Agricultural Partners. At the Taquari Cluster, as part of the environmental compensation plan for the Alto Taquari Unit, we engaged, for the 2015/2016 crop year, an expert company to develop the Management Plan and mark the boundaries of Dom Osório Stoffel State Park in Rondonópolis, Mato Grosso.

To reduce the risk of vehicle collisions involving wildlife living in the Legal Reserve, Permanent Protection and conservation areas and in the parks located near our Units, we installed speed limiters on our vehicles and invested in environmental education actions and in road signage. G4-EN30Click here to learn more about this aspect in the GRI Supplement

The Vinasse Application Plan, which was developed based on the environmental legislation, technical standards and rules issued by government environmental agencies, establishes the criteria and procedures for disposing of vinasse to eliminate the risk of our agricultural activities contaminating the soil or bodies of water. In the 2015/2016 crop year, the Santa Luzia Unit registered the rupture of a vinasse pipe and consequent spill, which was rapidly controlled to minimize any environmental impacts.

Our Units are also references in preparing the Bordeaux mixture, which is an input required for the proper development of the sugarcane fields. The Tecnomixture is prepared in controlled and automated locations, which reduces the risk of Team Member exposure and environmental impacts. The Units also have dedicated areas for stocking full and empty containers, which are no longer used after undergoing a triple wash process.

Credits

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.