AMSTERDAM - A large area of Brazilian rainforest located within one of AkzoNobel's sites is being planted with around 12,000 seedlings of species native to the region as part of an ongoing project to safeguard the fragile ecosystem.
The seedlings will replace part of the existing non-native eucalyptus woodland within a six-hectare plot at the Tangará Reserve, which sits inside the company's Mauá facility in São Paulo.
As well as helping to preserve the local environment, the planting of species native to the area's Mata Atlântica forest will also regulate the flow, and improve the quality of, a nearby waterway. It's the latest phase in a long-term project to restore 70 hectares of the reserve to native woodland.
"Around 35 hectares have been reforested since 2007, and it's a source of great pride to see how we're contributing to safeguarding the Brazilian rainforest," explained Elaine Poço, RD&I Director for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints in Latin America, who is also responsible for the company's sustainability projects in the region. "A 2015 study concluded that the forest is recovering itself, except for a steeper area, and that's the target of this new phase of the project."
The Mata Atlântica forest, which houses around 300 species of fauna and flora, feeds one of the most important waterways in the state of São Paulo and helps maintain the hydrological cycle. Although it only represents a small proportion of the total forest area, the Tangará Reserve is vital to the overall ecosystem.
In addition to planting seedlings at the reserve, the company's Decorative Paints business is also investing around €3 million in a water treatment plant at Mauá. The high-quality recycled water will be reused to manufacture paint.
Said Daniel Campos, Managing Director for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints in Latin America, "The investment in our water treatment facility and our ongoing commitment to helping safeguard the Brazilian rainforest are important milestones towards a more sustainable and liveable future."
The forest restoration and water reuse project are part of a major strategic drive within Decorative Paints to grow its portfolio of water-based products and use less water for manufacturing. During 2017, the Mauá plant expects to reuse 10% of its water, rising to 40% in 2018 and 100% by 2020.