Carbon offsetting in Brazil: Ceará Renewable Energy Project

Published by Georgia Crump on


The Ceará region in Northern Brazil is prone to severe drought and suffers from high levels of poverty. One of the main causes of deforestation is illegal logging, whereby trees are being chopped down to be used as fuel for factories. It is this problem that is tackled by the Ceará renewable energy project. 

About the project

The Ceará project has worked to switch five ceramic factories in the region from burning illegal firewood for fuel to using the sustainable alternative of agricultural and industrial residues (biomass). 

What is biomass? 

Biomass is a collective term for plant and animal matter that can be burned or digested to produce energy. Although burning biomass releases CO2, the plants that are the source of biomass capture almost the same amount of CO2 through photosynthesis while growing as is released when the biomass is burned. This makes biomass a nearly carbon-neutral energy source when managed correctly.  

In the case of this project, the biomass now used as fuel would otherwise have been discarded as waste, so the fuel switch makes the residue into something useful – a sustainable energy source. This also offers local individuals the opportunity to earn income by selling biomass waste to the factories. 

The reduction in air pollution as a result of the fuel switch has improved working conditions for employees and the ceramic factories have subsequently adopted a system that reuses industrial wastewater. This is a vital step towards sustainability for a region that suffers from severe droughts. 

This project is certified to the highest level by Gold Standard. Read more about Gold Standard’s certification process. 

Cost (USD / tonne of CO2e): $11 (read more about how this is calculated)

The impacts and benefits of this project: 

For the environment:

  • Putting an end to deforestation – 1,750 hectares of forest saved over 10 years (the equivalent area of 1400 football pitches)
  • Avoiding 36,173 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions on average every year 

For local communities: 

  • 4.5 million USD to date generated income for local communities
  • Improved working conditions for over 219 employees
  • Increasing the availability of water for the community
  • Promoting a more sustainable supply chain

Sustainable Development Goals

One of the requirements of Gold Standard certification is that the projects meet at least 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which one is climate action. This means that as well as fighting climate change by offsetting carbon emissions, the projects your money is supporting contribute to sustainable development for eco-systems and communities around the world. 

The goals met by this project are: 

7. Affordable and clean energy – Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity

8. Decent work and economic growth – Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs. 

13. Climate action

15. Life on Land – Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss 

Read more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Your impact

This was the first test donation made by Treepoints. You can view the certificate for this donation here. You can also view global contributions to this project on Gold Standard’s impact registry. 

Thanks to the contributions of our members, we are reducing carbon emissions for a more sustainable future.