Sweet success - Ecofrotas uses sugarcane to reduce transport emissions

Ninety-five percent of the world’s transportation energy comes from fossil fuels [1] and accounts for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that emissions from transport will grow by 40% in the next two decades if no drastic changes are made. Innovation is urgently needed. [2]

Ecofrotas—one of Brazil’s leading fleet management companies—is pioneering new ideas by moving from fossil fuel to fuel made from sugar cane. Its sustainability director, Rodrigo Somogyi, recognises the urgent need to revolutionize the transport industry and at the Rio+20 conference in 2012 he officially launched Ecofrotas’ innovative carbon-reduction offering.

Responding to the needs of the logistics sector to diversify fuel dependence, adopt more climate-friendly measures and reduce costs, Ecofrotas took advantage of Brazil’s lush agricultural landscape and decided to give its clients the option to substitute gasoline with ethanol—a green fuel obtained from sugarcane—when purchasing fleet management packages. This means that every client can obtain personalized, convenient solutions.

If the company is very environmentally concerned, they can use 95% ethanol and 5% gasoline, for instance, and we can set those parameters in our system so that the drivers need to follow those instructions, those rules,” explains Ecofrotas’ business development manager Luiz Renato [3]

This could have been a risky move in a relatively young sustainable transport market but more than 90% of the company’s sales in 2013 came with this kind of flex technology [4], resulting in emissions reductions of 63% across the fleet of parent company Embratec.

Ecofrotas has also launched a carbon credit program, getting customers actively involved in climate action. Clients can get carbon credits when they start using bio-ethanol and are given feedback on their individual contribution to CO­2 emission reductions, together with performance prizes and rewards.

Getting as many stakeholders as possible involved and the creative use of local renewable resources are the two major strengths guiding Ecofrotas’ action. The company is just one of many in Brazil using the country’s fertile sugarcane crops to replace petroleum-based fuels, sparking something of a revolution. There is some concern, however, over the land-use implications of sugarcane production for bio-ethanol and managing this will be crucial to Ecofrotas’ ongoing success and credibility. 


Fleet Management