Unidade Capinopolis transforms into sustainable employer

22nd September 2023

Unidade Capinopolis was bought at auction only six years ago by CRV Industrial LTDA. Significant investment has turned this business around – most recently, introducing a new focus on sustainable sugarcane production. Now Unidade Capinopolis has achieved certification against Bonsucro’s Production Standard (version 4.2) and Chain of Custody Standard with the EU-RED add on.

Since acquiring the plant in 2017, CRV Industrial has worked with the team at Unidade Capinopolis to revive the plant and also improve its sustainability credentials – an important factor for longevity. Its sustainability vision not only seeks to minimise the environmental impacts of its sugarcane production and processing, but also to look after its 1,500 employees.


Achieving certification

To achieve certification, Unidade Capinopolis looked to improve the efficiency of its operations. It implemented an environmental management plan, where it defined objectives, goals and actions to ensure its environmental initiatives are carried out effectively.

One area the plant focused on was waste management, including practices such as the reuse of water and waste from the production process, and its choice of partners for waste collection and disposal. By recycling and reusing water and waste where possible, Unidade Capinopolis ensures it uses the natural resources available to it efficiently and protects local bodies of water.

“The certification process involved a lot of learning and engagement” says Ludeir Junior, Industrial Manager at Unidade Capinopolis. The plant held several internal meetings to engage staff on sustainability and understand their expectations and needs. Through these meetings it was able to find the right agricultural and industrial practices that would give it the best results and help meet the requirements set out by the Production Standard.

As a result of its certification journey, Unidade Capinopolis, one of the biggest local employers, has seen a reduced turnover of staff, greater teamwork, and an improved quality of results. Productivity also increased – a clear benefit of its efforts to transform the business.

Gaining insight into practices

Ludeir Junior noted that sugarcane production brings with it several environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation and pesticide use. While working towards certification, Unidade Capinopolis used Bonsucro tools to understand how it could address these issues. “Tools like the Bonsucro Calculator have given us tangible numbers and insights into our practices, such as our use of resources.”

Bonsucro certification allowed Unidade Capinopolis to receive support and strategic guidelines from Bonsucro that helped the plant to implement more sustainable practices. It has also helped the plant achieve recognition for its commitment to sustainability – the EU-RED voluntary add-on allows Unidade Capinopolis to export its Bonsucro-certified ethanol into the European Union. “Certification demonstrates the quality and excellence of our sugarcane production chain and that we are working efficiently, with less impact on the environment” says Ludeir Junior.


Next steps

Looking ahead, Unidade Capinopolis plans to continue growing sustainably by looking at its water use and greenhouse gas emissions. It will introduce a closed circuit to recycle and reuse industrial water, thereby reducing its water consumption per tonne of sugarcane produced. It also plans to replace its use of fossil fuels across its agricultural land with green energy.

It is impressive to see so much change in the business over a few short years. Unidade Capinopolis has become a sustainable and attractive employer, with a clear vision and focus on sustainability. Its tangible next steps build upon what has been learned during the certification process and demonstrate its commitment to growing sustainably.


Find out more about certification here.