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Vulcabras Azaleia presents green initiatives and reinforces its sustainability pillar
Actions affirm the company’s commitment to sustainable processes and place it as the first footwear industry to have 100% clean energy supply
The issue of sustainability has always been part of Vulcabras Azaleia’s strategy and has evolved over the years of the company’s activity. This discussion within the company has always permeated the environmental and economic areas, never dissociating itself, therefore, from social responsibility.
The company’s social and environmental activities are divided into 5 pillars:
CARBON REDUCTION AND CLEAN ENERGY
The company recently signed an energy purchase agreement with Casa do Ventos, one of the main wind energy companies in the country. With a contract of R$ 150 million for a period of 13 years, starting in 2022, the company will supply the entire consumption of Vulcabras factories, which is 7 megawatts (mW), avoiding the release of 27 thousand tons of CO² annually into the atmosphere, equivalent to 165 thousand trees planted.
The energy will be supplied by The Ventos de São Mizael park, part of the Rio dos Ventos complex in Rio Grande do Norte, one of the biggest of the word, and costed R$ 2.4 billion to Casa dos Ventos. In addition to the drastic reduction in its environmental impact, in total, the company will still have a 25% savings compared to the 2019 energy expenditure.
WATER AND WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT
Another major project of the Company is the conclusion of the Effluent Treatment and Reuse System at the manufacturing plant in Horizonte (Ceará), the largest 2019 initiative in the area, with an investment of R$ 2 million. This stage constitutes a treatment plant focused on reusing 100% of the sewage generated by the company in Horizonte (factory and office), which provides Vulcabras Azaleia savings of 50 million liters of water per year. The treated sewage is reused in the production unit itself for toilets, irrigation and cleaning services in general.
With the system, Vulcabras achieved a 95% reduction in the purchase of treated water, which, together with the implementation of educational measures, resulted in a 25% decrease in the generation of effluents. With the action, the company expects a return of R$ 1.2 million per year. The goal is that, by 2021, 100% of the effluents generated in the production matrix will be reused.
In mid-2016, the company started a movement with the aim of promoting the circular economy and the policy of 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), in order to align the concepts of improving aspects of sustainability.
Today, the company has more than 20 strategic partners that use around 70% of its production waste as raw material, such as EVAs that are not reincorporated and become raw materials for the production of other products such as carpets and mats. Another 10% is absorbed by the company itself, such as thermoplastics and EVAs. In addition to these, employee glasses are reused and uniforms are transformed into cloths for general cleaning. The chemicals that the company uses, go through recycling processes and the contaminated materials are directed and become fuel for cement manufacturing companies.
Recycling is done either with product components until plastic packaging used in uniform and indirect processes, making everything that goes through the company’s process (regardless whether it is from the productive or administrative area) have the correct treatment before the decision to carry out properly disposition.
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES
Vulcabras Azaleia, in all its years of history, has built particular relevance in the regions where it has manufacturing units. The economic and social impact on the communities surrounding the factories is very positive and significant: the HDI of these regions is up to four times higher than the national average. Therefore, in these challenging times, the company directed its efforts to these locations and initially allocated more than 400 thousand protective masks (TNT and acrylic) and 3 thousand pairs of shoes to health professionals in 13 cities, where its factories are installed.
Vulcabras Azaleia was and remains committed to putting on and providing technical and adequate equipment for health professionals (nurses, assistants, cleaning agents and doctors) from the communities surrounding its factories in the Northeast and South of the country, because it believes that, if all do your part in what is within your reach, close to your group and your community, we will get out of this emergency situation faster and stronger.
Such dedication results in the recognition of external bodies, such as:
2019 Environmental Performance Award
For its WATER AND WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT project in a large industry, by the Federation of Trade, Industry, Services and Agriculture Associations of Ceará (FIEC). The award aims to recognize industrial companies that excel in environmental conservation and implement activities that result in the improvement of environmental quality.
Stamp of sustainable origin
Demonstration of compliance with the pillars of sustainability (Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural) through measures for reduction, reuse, recycling and environmental education, in addition to the implementation of the environmental ambassador program.
ABICALÇADOS Directions Award – 2019
Vulcabras Azaleia was awarded in 2019 by ABICALÇADOS (Brazilian Association of Footwear Industries) in the Industrial Management System category of the Directions Award. This award was granted due to the intense evolution carried out by the company in its technology industrial parks, but mainly in the implementation of sustainable measures such as water reuse, energy savings, use of 100% led lamps and efficient waste management.
Kaizen Brasil Award in the Excellence category in the continuous improvement system
Implementation of the Lean Manufacturing philosophy with Kaizen programs acting directly on the eight types of waste. The financial and philosophical return obtained was the great “pass” of the project, converting more than 300 people into greater production volume. The award received more than 300 companies, and Vulcabras Azaleia was among the 19 finalists..
Brazil Protection Award in Occupational Hygiene – 2020
Vulcabras Azaleia was awarded by PROTEÇÃO BRASIL in 2020 with the best case (GOLD) in occupational hygiene in Brazil. In total, more than 155 projects were registered and the company was awarded for the implementation of the thermal comfort project implemented at its unit in Horizonte, Ceará.
Northeast Workplace Safety and Health Protection Award – 2020
In view of the success of the Occupational Hygiene project, the protection of Brazil awarded Vulcabras Azaleia with the Golden Helmet for the best case in Health and Safety at work in the entire Northeast. The prize was awarded among all existing categories.
The sustainability actions of Vulcabras Azaleia, guaranteed the Gold certification of sustainable origin.
Gold Certification – Sustainable Origin
Developed by the Sustainability Laboratory of the University of São Paulo (USP) in conjunction with the Brazilian Association of Leather, Footwear and Artifacts Companies (Assintecal) and the Brazilian Association of the Footwear Industry (Abicalçados), the certification labels companies with performance based on the Environmental, Social and Cultural economic pillars. The Certification is recognized by the World Congress on Sustainable Technologies, at Cambridge University, as a case of success and an example of sustainability.
In an audit carried out at Horizonte/CE Factories by a certification company with worldwide recognition, the company met 100% of the important requirements, guaranteeing the Gold Seal certification, the highest possible for a company with less than two years of certification.
Vulcabras Azaleia – CE thus becomes the first sports footwear industry to obtain certification, in addition to being the first footwear industry certified with the Gold Seal outside Rio Grande do Sul.
“All these measures that we have been adopting for years help us to strengthen this pillar that the company looks at with such care, which consequently positions us as a reference for the chain of our sector, showing that it is possible to obtain results, aligned to sustainable development, provided that there is a solid and modern program”, Luiz Otávio, QHMS manager at Vulcabras.