Every year, on April 22nd, the world celebrates Earth Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices to protect our planet. This year’s theme, “Invest in our Planet,” calls for action towards investing in the future of the Earth. At Sarona, we recognize the significant role that impact investing plays in driving positive environmental and social change. Our commitment to impact investing focuses on supporting businesses that have a positive impact on people and the planet, especially in emerging and frontier markets where environmental and social issues are critical.
As we live in what is known as a throwaway society, our way of producing, consuming, and disposing of materials has led to a global waste crisis and devastating environmental impacts. At present, there are two large spinning ‘plastic islands’ located between the West Coast of North America and Japan, known collectively as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patches are so large, about 1 million square miles (about the area of India), and can be seen from outer space. Without a radical change to the amount of plastic ending up in the ocean, over 700 species of sea-life could go extinct.
Through recycling, individuals and businesses can contribute to preserving and protecting the earth for us and future generations. Recycling one ton of paper saves 13 trees and 31,780 litres of water. It is also estimated that recycling metals lower greenhouse-gas emissions by about 50% and saves more than US$11 billion in annual energy costs. Recycling also helps create new businesses and jobs. The EPA released research on the economic benefits of recycling, where they found that every dollar spent on recycling creates four jobs. Recycling facilities also train and employ four workers for every worker that a landfill maintains.
At Sarona, we are proud to support one of our portfolio companies, EuReciclo, a company that is leading the charge in transforming the recycling industry in Brazil. Through its Recycling Certificates, businesses with the certificates or operators collect and separate post-consumer packaging by material group (paper, plastic, glass and metal) and sell recyclable materials to recycling companies.
EuReciclo provides consumer packaged goods companies with an efficient way to comply with extended producer responsibility laws in Brazil, where recycling rates are still below 5%. EuReciclo’s efforts have helped to increase the recycling rates in Brazil, as the country produces a staggering 81.8 million tons of urban solid waste annually, according to data from the Brazilian Association of Cleaning Companies Public and Special Waste (Abrelpe). To put this into perspective, it’s a weight equivalent to more than 70,000 statues of the Christ the Redeemer. This amount of waste is cause for concern, especially when considering that only a small portion of it is being recycled.
The company has compensated more than 695 thousand tons of waste and distributed over R$ 41.5 million to sorting centers, creating income for more than eleven thousand families. EuReciclo’s introduction of the concept of Recycling Credits to Brazil has compensated for over 745 thousand tons of certified post-consumer packaging, helping offset more than 329 thousand tons of post-consumer packaging.
Today, EuReciclo boasts over seven thousand customers, a growth of 25% compared to the 5,600 customers in 2021, and a registered network of more than 28 thousand operators in Brazil and Chile, with its presence extending to all 26 states of Brazil, the Federal District, and projects in Chile and France. The EuReciclo team is comprised of 184 people, 98 of which are women, in their team in Brazil and 15 employees in Chile.
In 2022, EuReciclo received a BRL 100 million investment (USD 19.8 million), which will allow them to generate additional support for sorting centers and attract more companies to participate in the recycling process.
Going forward the company plans to start compensating 200% of the volume of residues collected at the kiosk. This could incentivize people to bring more waste to the kiosk for recycling or disposal, as they would receive a higher compensation.
EuReciclo’s work has been recognized through various awards, including the ECO Award, presented by the Americana de Comércio (Amcham), and the Best for the World, B Corp award, presented by B Lab. These honours place EuReciclo among the top 5% of companies in the world with the greatest impact on communities.
On Earth Day, it’s important to recognize the urgent need for sustainability and the role of impact investing in supporting businesses like EuReciclo that are driving positive environmental and social change.
The Sarona team
*Photo Credit: www.eureciclo.com.br