"Green Gold Bahia" program
Offering everyone a better way forward
The Ouro Verde Bahia ("Green Gold Bahia") program translates our purpose. As one of the Michelin Group's main programs in sustainable development, it focuses on a balanced relationship between respect for the environment, social development and economic growth, making it possible to produce and sell natural rubber in a responsible and sustainable way. Distinct types of progress, which interconnect and complement one another. These are the heart and soul of the Green Gold Bahia program!
Our 3 axes
1. Economic and Scientific Axis
- Creation of rubber tree varieties that are more productive and more resistant to the fungus Microcyclus ulei
- Diversification of the agroforestry system (rubber, banana and cocoa trees)
- Fostering of rubber farming in the region
- Enhanced natural rubber processing capacity
- Creation of jobs and revenue
2. Environmental Axis
- Michelin Ecological Reserve, covering approximately 3,000 hectares
- Enrichment of the biodiversity through the planting of 100,000 trees of 215 different species, on 270 hectares of the reserve
- Creation of a biodiversity study centre
- Environmental education for the communities and Michelin employees
- Creation of the Pancada Grande Waterfall Park
3. Social Axis
- Installation of the CASA FAMILIAR RURAL, a training centre in the countryside where the region's young people can learn personal development and obtain training in farming and aquaculture
- Donation of 18 hectares of land for the construction of houses for 250 families
- Creation of the Family Farming Program, benefiting more than 1,300 families
- Provision of infrastructures: health centre, municipal school and mobile telephony for the region (a public-private partnership)
It all began when Michelin purchased 9,000 hectares of land between the municipalities of Igrapiúna and Ituberá, approximately 150 kilometres from Salvador, in Bahia. The aim was to produce rubber to meet the needs of Michelin Brazil's two industrial plants, both located in Rio de Janeiro.
Working in partnership with CIRAD (Centre for Agricultural Research and International Cooperation for Sustainable Development) a pioneering research program was set up with the aim of developing rubber trees able to resist the Microcyclus ulei fungus, a severe threat to rubber trees all over the world.
2003 / 2004
In 2003, the area was divided up for the purposes of the Bahia Green Gold Project: 1,000 hectares for research, aimed at developing varieties of rubber trees that would be more productive and resistant to diseases; 3,000 hectares for the creation of an ecological reserve aimed at protecting and restoring the Atlantic Forest; and 5,000 hectares, divided into 12 medium-sized estates.
In order to protect and enrich the biodiversity of the Atlantic Forest, one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, a 3,000-hectare ecological reserve was created, as well as a nursery where 35,000 seedlings of native Atlantic Forest species would be produced annually.
When the restoration program got underway, the first native Atlantic Forest tree was planted in the ecological reserve. Today, it is recognised as one of the best-protected Atlantic Forest reserves in Brazil; over 200 different native species have been planted in an area of 270 hectares which, recuperated, correspond to 25% of the species of trees in the region.
Striving to consolidate the sustainable efforts to respect and care for the areas and species included in its reserve, Michelin invested in its Ecological Reserve Protection Program, while promoting other conservation and environmental education measures in the region.
An environmental education program was set up and has already been delivered to over 3,000 students in the region, with the support of 30 training partners per year, including primary school teachers.
Aware of the importance of the Pancada Grande Waterfall Park for the local community and for tourism in the region, Michelin obtained the highest level of environmental protection from the Brazilian government for a private property, safeguarding the leisure activities of the more than 60,000 people who visit the area every year.