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Kitambar Renewable Biomass Fuel Switch, Brazil

Switching to renewable biomass to reduce emissions and protect local biodiversity

Project overview

  • Region: Latin America

  • Project type: Resource recovery

  • Standards: Social Carbon, VCS

Working with the Kitambar ceramics factory in north-eastern Brazil, the project has switched the fuel source from unmanaged forest wood to renewable biomass such as agricultural residues. This delivers emissions reductions by reducing unsustainable harvesting of native vegetation.

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. These include: 

  • Life on Land: Prior to the project, the Caatinga biome – one of the most threatened ecosystems in Brazil – was used as a fuel source for the factory.
  • Quality Education: Ceramic factory staff are offered additional training courses including laboratory analysis for product quality control, electrical and machine safety courses, and management and leadership.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: The project also contributes to the Cistern project in partnership with a local NGO which refurbishes the roofs of low income families’ homes, incorporating water catchment for clean drinking water. This initiative started in April 2015, and the factory contributes 5,000 roof tiles monthly.

Read More information to find out how the project delivers other sustainable development benefits.

  • Good Health and Wellbeing: Kitambar provides training programs about health and safety practices, H1N1 vaccinations and labour gymnastics three times a week to encourage physical activity.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy: The factory possesses a dryer that recycles the heat from the kilns resulting in reduced energy and uses 50% renewable wood in heating them.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: The company offers employees a fixed salary, benefits such as life insurance, transportation, meals, commission on production and a 50% subsidy for health insurance.

Under the Social Carbon Standard, the project contributes a number of additional benefits for employees and surrounding communities.

In 2016, Kitambar factory won a sustainability prize from the Federation of Industries in the State of Pernambuco

Ailton Pedro da Silva’s story

I have worked at the factory since January 2005 as a production line worker - much has changed here since then. The change of fuel alone made things so much better. We no longer have contact with the fire, I just have to put the fuel into the feeder and that’s it. With the construction of safety fences, there is also much more protection from the machines. From all changes though, what made the biggest difference for me is the school. In the past, when I wrote my name it would come out all wrong, you know, missing letters. It made me very sad not to know how to write my own name. Now with the classes it comes out perfect, it feels so good! I still cannot read, but I’ll get there! Recently we were told we could invite people from outside the ceramic factory to attend classes with us, so I brought my brother, he is also learning to read.