Is there a bitter flavor in sustainability for the sugar-alcohol industry?
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Biofuel has been pointed out as one “green” option for traditional fossil fuels like petroleum. Brazil is one the leading countries within this proposal competing globally with its sugar ethanol.. Nevertheless, there is a debate between corn ethanol and sugar ethanol .regarding the appropriateness to produce fuel instead of food in highly fertile regions. This industry is also severely criticized regarding its socio-environmental practices. We analyzed three cases identified as featuring best practices in this industry in Brazil. Two of the companies are located in the state of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, the most important region in sugar-ethanol production. The third is situated in the Brazilian Midwest, a region with fast growth in this industry. In this region, cattle, soy and corn have been substitute by sugarcane plantation. The results suggest that, when a company in this industry pursues a sustainable approach to its operations, it is possible to mitigate environmental impacts and to improve local social conditions. Such practices are potential sources of competitive advantage. However, clear gaps are still present regarding integration and collaboration along the supply chain. Nevertheless, sustainable business policies have also created new business opportunities. The continuous challenge is to develop synergetic operational capabilities that are able to mitigate environmental impacts, to decrease operational costs and to add value to the products.DOI:10.12660/joscmv8n1p45-56URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.12660/joscmv8n1p46-56