ELLA Policy Brief: Brazil’s Efforts to Mitigate the Environmental Impacts of Ethanol Production

ELLA is the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America programme

Abstract

Sugarcane cultivation and ethanol production can result in ecosystem damage to the soil, water and atmosphere, all of which cause significant harm to biodiversity and human health. This Brief presents the efforts made by Brazil, Latin America’s largest ethanol producer, to avoid, mitigate and compensate for these impacts. Ethanol producers, or those assessing whether or not they will implement an ethanol programme, in Africa and Asia could benefit from Brazil’s lessons learned in order to develop an ethanol production system that is environmentally efficient from the outset.

Key Lessons:

Establishing environmental assessments as a legal requirement for all ethanol producers has led to significant environmental improvements.

Public pressure and environmental awareness have been important in pushing forward policies to mitigate negative environmental impacts of ethanol production.

The strengthening of environmental institutions proved key to effectively supervising compliance with the law.

Reducing waste and emissions has been shown to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability in the ethanol sector.

Citation

Ninô de Carvalho, P. ELLA Policy Brief: Brazil’s Efforts to Mitigate the Environmental Impacts of Ethanol Production. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 6 pp.

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