In 2009, Souza Cruz was awarded four prizes acknowledging its environmental protection actions and sustainable practices.
Souza Cruz won the 2009 Gold Blue Prize for one of the five best corporate environmental preservation and water resource rehabilitation practices. It was selected for the Project focused on Water Consumption Reduction and Zero Liquid Waste Discharged into the Public Sewerage Network through Reuse implemented at its factory in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais State. In all, 115 projects under way in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and the Federal District were entered this year, 47 of them in the Corporate category. Other entries included initiatives implemented by communities and students in these regions.
"Receiving the Gold Blue Prize for the first time, Souza Cruz ends 2009 on a high note, with four prizes in the environmental area. This year, Souza Cruz presented a full inventory of its greenhouse gases emissions and carbon stocks, proud of having a low-carbon clean energy matrix that is fully sustainable,” affirms Souza Cruz Environment Safety and Occupational Health Manager Jorge Augusto.
The Souza Cruz factory in Uberlândia is the largest in Latin America in this segment, and an environmental management model. In addition to recycling all the water that was previously discharged into the public network, through investments of US$ 100,000, it also burns waste tobacco dust to generate energy through steam.
Alongside the factory is the Souza Cruz Environment Park, set aside to preserve native cerrado savannah species. Established in 2008, it covers forty hectares, with thirteen of them open to visitors, while the remaining 27 are reserved solely for research and the rehabilitation of this important remaining patch of cerrado savannahs. To date, more than 7,000 seedlings have been planted in this Park, and 65 plant species catalogued. It is expected that the task of replanting will be completed in two years, with full environmental rehabilitation.
"This is a top priority job for us. The cerrado savannahs are the second largest biome in Brazil, behind only the Amazon Rainforest. But it has been severely affected by massive deforestation. Each year, 20,000 square kilometres of cerrado savannahs vanish, which is twice the deforestation rate in Amazonia, for example. But with the establishment of this Environment Park, we are already noting changes in this region: wildlife species, especially birds, are returning to Uberlândia. Other species that have long been absent from this part of Minas Gerais State, such as sucupira hardwoods, are protected, together with fruit trees that are typical of this biome, such as araçá-amarelo, mangaba, pitanga and jatobá," stresses the Uberlândia Factory Industrial Engineering Manager Edson Dorigon.