If you ever have the chance to enjoy a bottle of San Juan, the pale lager we produce at our brewery close to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon jungle, take a moment to consider the environmental success story associated with the brand.
A few years ago, the soil in the land around the brewery in the city of Pucallpa was largely unusable, damaged by years of unsustainable cattle farming.
Today, thousands of trees are growing there as part of a reforestation project that will soon cover an area of some 248 hectares.
By the time the current phase of the project has been completed during 2015, 275,000 trees of high forestry and commercial value will have been planted, including important species such as cedar and mahogany.
The reforestation project is part of Ecopark, an environmental management model we have been running at San Juan brewery since 2009.
Ecopark was conceived for two key reasons. First, to make practical and effective use of the damaged land around the brewery and second because we wanted to reuse or recycle by-products from the brewery – and there were no sustainable commercial opportunities to do so in the Pucallpa area.
Michelle Salcedo Teullet, sustainable development manager for our Backus business in Peru, says: 'When we carried out studies to determine how these by-products could be used, we found they had great potential to help produce high-quality organic fertiliser. That’s when we identified that the compost could be used for reforestation activities on the damaged land.'
From the start, Ecopark was based on three priorities: to identify and implement the best technology; to promote quality environmental practices; and to work with the local and scientific communities to increase and share skills and knowledge.
The set-up at San Juan now includes:
- An organic fertiliser production process, which is currently producing an annual total of 450 tonnes of compost.
- A forestry nursery, where we use modern technology from Brazil to evaluate the growth and vigour of the saplings – and, after three months, transport the best of them to the field to be installed.
- The forestry plantation, where 275,000 trees will be planted, including cedar, mahogany, teak, Caribbean pine, pashaco, capirona and bolaina.
- A zoo breeding centre, where we promote the protection of vulnerable Amazonian species such as the jaguar.
The project has won a host of international awards and Michelle is understandably proud of the results achieved in the last four years.