Children group inside a greenhouse

​"It's as if I were planting a new life"

11-year-old student plants the 100 thousandth seedling of the Jeep Biodiversity Program, which aims to restore the Atlantic Forest in the factory’s region

September 13, 2019 - "It's as if I were planting a new life." It’s with these words that 11-year-old Willyane Bastos, a student at the Diogo Dias Municipal School in Goiana (PE, Brazil), expressed how she felt when planting the 100,000 seedling at the Jeep Automotive Plant nursery during the Sustainability Circuit held on August 27th. Willyane planted a tree of the Camaçari species, which has medicinal properties and can reach up to 20 meters in height. The 100,000 seedling milestone is an achievement for nature and for Jeep, especially because the nursery that is part of the Biodiversity Program, the first project born in the plant in 2014, with the aim of restoring and preserving the original biome of the Atlantic Forest region.

For plant manager Pierluigi Astorino, the celebration of planting 100,000 seedlings reflects Jeep's connection with nature and the reality of the place where the plant was built. "We arrived here and found only one sugarcane plantation, but after historical research, we began to understand that previously there was native forest. So we wondered: 'what’s the best to give back to the community all the flora that existed before?' That’s how the idea of ​​the nursery was born and today we have reached an important milestone", he said, adding that in all, the ecological corridors accommodate 295 different species, of which 27 are threatened with extinction.

Although the result is worth celebrating, the head of the Biodiversity Program, Danúbia Lima, says this achievement is only the beginning. This is because the project foresees the planting of 208,000 seedlings and the formation of 304 hectares of green area by the year 2024. "It was a very important milestone for the program, as we are, every day, rescuing and enriching our biodiversity. We see the rescue of fauna and flora which means that inside a car factory we can also manufacture seedlings", says Danubia.

Environmental Education ProgramThe Environmental Education Program takes students from local schools to the Jeep Plant to help them understand the importance of rescuing the Atlantic Forest.

She also says that, in addition to giving back to the flora and, little by little, rebuilding the fauna that once existed in the area, the Jeep Biodiversity Program also has an Environmental Education Program. "We receive students weekly from schools in the region who know about the nursery and the sustainability initiatives of the factory. When they return to school, they develop environmental education work with their teachers", explains Danubia. As with Willyane, in practice, the Program enables other children to have the opportunity to plant seedlings and learn more about preservation.

For Willyane’s teacher, Maria da Silva, 50, Jeep's initiative to give children and youngsters in the region an opportunity to become aware of the importance of biodiversity and preservation is fundamental. "They need to learn how to conserve nature today while they are still young, because in the future they will be able to enjoy what it has to offers", she explains. The experience and direct contact that her students have during the program, she says, yields very positive comments during the classes. And not only that, "They come back from these experiences with the desire to do projects focused on sustainability. They come back wanting to get closer to nature", she says.

WillyaneWillyane (in the red hat) planted the 100,000th seedling at the Jeep Automotive Plant.

In addition to planting the 100,000 seedling, Willyane was also able to learn about the good environmental management practices carried out within the Jeep Automotive Plant, which she says will now be put into practice in her daily life. "I was already helping at home by saving water, not letting the water runs so much while I shower. But now, I'm going to start recycling the trash in those colorful dumpsters and plant flowers with my grandmother. I think that by doing this I will be able to help biodiversity, right?" said the girl.

Environmental Management

For FCA, sustainable development is a company-wide environmental management process. Therefore, in addition to the Biodiversity Program, Jeep also invests in other sustainability actions within the Plant. This is the case with water management, since the plant has virtually eliminated the use of drinking water for car production with the Effluent Treatment Station (ETE for the Brazilian acronym). In this space, there is a system that allows the reuse of no less than 99.5% of the water. In all, about 28,000 cubic meters of water (the equivalent of eight Olympic swimming pools) per month are no longer used from the public water supply, making Jeep use the same water since 2015.

Another sustainable initiative of the Plant is the Ecological Island. It’s in this space of 3,000 square meters that 100% of the approximately 14,000 tons of waste generated per month in the production of cars is properly sorted and sent for recycling and reuse. This is also where 82 professionals work around the concept of 5Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reuse, a hierarchy that has made the Plant achieve, since October 2015, the goal of being the first "Zero Landfill" plant in the Brazilian Northeast.

Also as a pioneering step, the Jeep Automotive Plant was the first factory in the automotive sector in Latin America to have been certified Carbon Neutral in 2017. With a complex program focused on sustainability, plant manager Pierluigi Astorino points out that these initiatives go beyond caring for nature. "All of these initiatives show how much our company wants to take care of the environment and the reality of the community where we operate. What we want is to ensure a more sustainable future for the world", he says.

Words: Isabela Alves

Pictures: Marketing

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