'Going Green' Benefits Cobb and the Environment

BRAZIL - Elisangela Perina explains how 'going green' in Brazil has benefitted both Cobb and the environment.
calendar icon 5 February 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The Cobb units in Brazil 'bet big' in their efforts to save natural resources and create opportunities for benefiting the community.

Although Brazil is renowned for its abundant natural resources, using those resources responsibly is a challenge for Cobb Brazil and all companies concerned with environmental issues.

Pond in Palestina re-forested lot

One example is electricity and water, where large amounts are used by Cobb. "Water, and electricity to heat it, are closely linked here at Cobb, because in many departments employees are required to take a shower to prevent contamination," says Idir Savoldi, Cobb production manager in Sao Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.

One person can take up to three showers a day, and 1500 showers are taken daily in the company's premises in Brazil.

About 95% of those showers use solar power heated water. "This means we are saving 45,000 kilowatts per hour per month," states Mr Savoldi. This is the case with Farm 2, where 63 employees have access to water heated by solar power everyday.

Arlindo Sonsin: man with a vision (above); solar panels at Farm 2 (below)

To show how much energy is being saved in accordance wi th Brazil's National Electricity Conservation Program (Procel), the electric bill in a house using solar power is 20 to 25 per cent less. "This means saving a considerable sum of money each month," he adds.

Another environmental issue addressed by Cobb in Brazil is recycling. Implemented a year ago in Farm 2, in the city of Palestina, the project is already showing good results. "We have built a waste-sorting room, bought standardized garbage bins and trained the employees, raising everybody's awareness on the issue," says Luana Ragonezi, Cobb human resources manager. "Today, everyone is routinely taking part in the waste sorting process."

It is the dry waste that is sorted. "Plastic cups after being washed, paper and other items are sorted by the employees using selective waste collection," she adds. "In addition to helping protect the environment, this benefits thousands of families whose living depends on the collection and sale of recyclable waste."

Another innovation is now a frequent topic of conversation among the employees – reforestation. At Cobb the idea is that employees themselves create new green areas. "Everyone participates, planting and taking care of trees." says Adriano Matuella, Farm 2 manager. "People understand the importance of this. Green areas bring shade and the certainty that we need to take care of our environment."

Supporting external causes is also a concern at Cobb. That is how an abandoned 11,497-square metre plot of land, owned by the city government of Palestina, in the State of Sao Paulo, was brought to life with water and vegetation. The initiative was started by Arlindo Sonsin, a 59-year old retired public employee.

"In October of 2002 I saw an area that looked like an immense abandoned pasture. I felt like transforming that place," he recalls.

Identified trees at Palestina plot (above); Palestina re-forestation plot (below)

He went to the City Hall to ask for help, but the response was discouraging, so he decided to try Cobb who supported the cause by donating seeds, seedlings, young plants and fertilizers, and providing a system for collecting water to irrigate the soil. Now there are around 3000 trees planted, there are flowers and fruit to suit every taste, as well as a small lake and a one kilometer-long trail so students and visitors can see the wonderful results that such an effort can bring into our lives.

"To take active part in improving the quality of life of the community is always a concern for us," says Jairo Arenazio, Cobb general manager.

"How could we not help that man who was willing to do something to help save the environment just for the love of the cause?"

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