Focusing on circularity, companies develop solutions that reuse co-products from the production chain — The global concern with waste management is a phenomenon that has gained strength in recent years, especially in consumer goods industries that are part of the population’s daily life. Leading companies in the Brazilian market are ahead of this change, investing in technologies to reuse their residues in order to return them to the productive chain as inputs for new products. This is a concept called circular economy.
Circularity is a business strategy that revolves around the concept of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The model proposes changes in the production chains in order to reconcile economic growth with sustainability and the well-being of the population, since the valorization of natural resources results in better health conditions for human beings. In a study by the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI) conducted in 2019, 76.5% of the interviewed companies said they adopted practices in the area.
From disposal to shelves
Aiming to expand its initiatives in the fields of sustainability and coproduct management, JBS, the world’s largest food company, began operating in the nutraceutical and health industry after launching Genu-in, a new brand of JBS Negócios focused on the production of collagen peptides and gelatin from the use of co-products from the beef chain.
According to the American consulting company Allied Market Research, the collagen peptide market operates US$ 4 billion all over the world and has grown more than 15% on an annual basis over the last five years. After identifying the possibility of extracting collagen from animal skin, JBS sends the material to the Genu-in plant in Presidente Epitácio, a city in countryside São Paulo. There, it is processed to originate collagen peptides and gelatin, which, in turn, will be used as raw material for new nutraceutical products, returning to the shelves with a high reuse rate.
Besides the lower environmental impact and higher production efficiency, there are also other advantages to this process. One of them is that, by using only bovine skin from JBS operations, the quality and uniformity of the final product can be guaranteed. The plan reinforces the company’s commitment to sustainability throughout its production chain globally.
“Collagen peptides are the protein of life, because they naturally activate our body’s collagen production, which slows down as we age. They are present in the products that ensure people’s health, quality of life, and important routine care. At Genu-in, production is integrated to JBS’s value chain, which ensures safety, sustainability and reliability from the beginning to the end of the process”, says Cláudia Yamana, director at Genu-in.
Genu-in’s first market launch is the collagen peptide Genu-in Life, which will serve as an ingredient for third-party brands to develop health and nutrition products, such as food supplements, with wide availability in the retail food, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. The second launch, on the other hand, is the Genu-in Gel gelatin, which will serve as a component for the pharmaceutical industry, in the production of capsules and pills, for example, and for the food industry, in the production of desserts, for example.
Circularity as a priority
The post-pandemic consumer carefully analyzes the environmental and social impact of the products he consumes, opting for brands that are transparent about their practices and that encourage circularity. Being a pioneer in the market in sustainable initiatives, such as the electrification of its fleets, waste processing and high value-added products, JBS was also the first company in the protein sector to commit to zeroing its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2040 in a project called Net Zero 2040.
For circularity to become an increasingly global reality, companies in Brazil and around the world are required to have a large-scale strategic planning, combining economic growth with a collaborative development cycle that prioritizes the reuse of waste and environmental protection.