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.
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
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.
Ninô de Carvalho, P. ELLA Policy Brief: Brazil&#8217;s Efforts to Mitigate the Environmental Impacts of Ethanol Production. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 6 pp.