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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 for the factory kilns from unmanaged forest wood to renewable biomass. The project alters the fuel source fed to the kilns from native wood in the Caatinga biome to renewable biomasses such as algaroba and cashew tree wood. This protects the 895 km2 Caatinga ecoregion from deforestation and 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. Without the project the Kitambar ceramics factory was estimated to consume 32,700 m2 per year of non-renewable wood. Approximately 50% of the Caatinga area has already been converted from its native vegetation for uses such as grazing and timber extraction. 187 species of bees, 240 species of fish and 516 species of birds inhabit Caatinga.
  • 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.
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: The project has donated tiles and bricks to support local construction, including for a church, drug recovery centre and youth orchestra.
  • 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.

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

Approximately 50% of the Caatinga area has already been converted from its native vegetation for uses such as grazing and timber extraction


Brazil intends to increase the share of sustainable bioenergy in the Brazilian energy mix to around 18% by 2030

Deforestation in Brazil accounts for 29.7% of the global total decline in forest area between 2015 and 2016


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.