8 sustainable companies to watch in Brazil

By Tim Stephenson,

  Filed under: Blog, Brazil, CleanAndCool, Uncategorized

8 sustainability companies to watch in Brazil

After our welcome by none other than the president of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), which I wrote about here, it was time to hear from some of the innovative companies from both sides of the Atlantic making a difference in sustainability. The 17 British companies selected to go on the @CleanAndCool mission (including trakeo) all presented, you can read about them all here, but in this post I will highlight the Brazilian team.

Geoffrey Cleaver, one of the fund managers we’d heard from earlier in our visit to the BNDES, presented on behalf of one of his investments Haztec Foxx. He painted a stark picture of 99% of Brazilian waste going to landfill and of this a vast 43% is what he termed ‘unofficial’ landfill, essentially a completely uncontrolled mountain of waste. As Cleaver said, “This is unacceptable and needs to stop”. But as with many other areas developing nations have the opportunity to leapfrog a more regulated landfill moving directly to state of the art waste reclamation technologies. Haztec Foxx is pursuing this leapfrog with R$ 200 million invested and so far having selected technology (from Singapore).

Unregulated landfill is unacceptable

Unregulated landfill is unacceptable

Next we heard from Ernani Judice of Geociclo. Geociclo is an R&D based business focused on fertilisers. Ernani spoke of the growth in both fertiliser consumption (5.5% CAGR) and waste generation (8.6% CAGR) and how Geociclo is applying a circular business model collecting biomass waste to turn into fertiliser and re-apply to the new crops. Although the first two plants have 100K and 140K tonnes per annum capacity these are ‘small’ plants intentionally located close to the source of waste and consumption of fertiliser.

Amata’s mission is to build a recognised brand in sustainable timber and timber products – “trust is a new idea but a core part of the strategy”. They are planting native trees on degraded land and managing the resulting forest for an FSC-certified source of timber.

From its roots in highly specific control systems for agro-industry Enalta has grown and expanded to manage the life of these complex pieces of machinery much more holistically. Cleber Rinaldo Manzoni described benefits being 15% saving in diesel used and 12% increase in availability.

ERB is a combined heat and power generator from biomass. They are vertically integrated focusing on sourcing wood from their own plantations, harvesting the timber for fuel and converting it to energy needs of each client / site.

Renova Energia has been producing power from the wind for over ten years  and through a collapse in cost of the production is now seeing 8-11% return without subsidy. They are now betting on a similar collapse in the price of solar. In response to a question we heard there encounter little of the resistance seen in the UK from those close to the installations.

Silicon Reef are in the business of energy harvesting. Their Eh01 product is a single chip design that produces a 30% gain in efficiency of battery or PV powered devices providing valuable extra time for your smart phone. They are already planning a second product that can capture piezoelectric energy.

The Green Building Council of Brazil is really making headway in driving more sustainable buildings. Felipe attributed this to both presidential decree (7746/2012), which makes sustainability a key driving criteria of new buildings, and a desire to for future-proofing against any drop off in demand.