What a year! I took over leadership of this amazing Raízen team during a rather unusual time. Because of the pandemic that affected the whole world, we were seeing signs that this would be a period unlike any we have ever experienced. We were forced to reinvent ourselves overnight, and on April 1st, when I became CEO of Raízen, the scenario was quite uncertain. What makes me proud is that, although we have not yet overcome this global health crisis, when we look back, we see that with this team’s capacity and our attention to people's health, we have achieved important milestones in the company's history by reconciling the significant social contributions made in the context of COVID-19 with the continuous advancement of our business agenda, whose operations are essential to society and the economy.
Extending responsibility and care beyond the walls of our operations, we reviewed our social performance strategy with enhanced governance to ensure that this topic is integrated into our business. We reinforced our ambition to strengthen socioeconomic development in the areas around our operations and become a reference in positive social impacts in the sectors where we operate by providing meaningful experiences for employees through the Raízen Volunteers in Action (VOAR - Voluntários em Ação Raízen) program; mobilizing public and private resources in a planned, monitored, and systematic way; and promoting positive social transformation throughout the chain.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been mobilized in a true network of solidarity, from the massive production and donation of essential 70% alcohol to partnerships established with Natura, Ypê, CCR, Engie, Itaú Unibanco, Klabin, Petrobras, and Vale, among other companies that contribute their efforts and expertise to the service of society. Every life saved is a collective victory!
Attitudes such as these reflect our legitimate intention to bring stakeholder capitalism to management, a model in which the interests of the parties impacted by operations are as important as the interests of shareholders. With this in mind, we publicly made 10 social and environmental commitments in September as a way to show our progress toward the goals we aspire to for the next 10 years, in line with global agendas for sustainable development.
Doing more with less, reducing environmental impacts, prioritizing the quality of life of our team, generating positive social impacts, and ensuring a circular economy are examples of practices that have always been part of our day-to-day operations and that must be intensified so that we can actually present positive results toward the commitments we have made.
There is no doubt that we have the right structure in place to reach our goals. At each harvest, we invest in expanding the portfolio, optimizing processes, and in technologies, among other innovations that increasingly preserve our unique and irreplicable performance model and allow us to look ahead, taking our performance to a leading position in the energy transition and redefining the future of energy.
From the field to the consumer, the continuous improvement in technology covers fronts such as renewable energy, fuel distribution, and retail, using the intelligence of a team well prepared for decision making. It also includes biofuels, bioelectricity, advanced biofuels, and bioproducts, with an emphasis on biogas and second-generation ethanol (E2G), our two big bets for the future.
During the crop year, we celebrated the start-up of our biogas plant in Guariba (SP) and enjoyed the position of being one of the only players in the world operating on a commercial scale in the production of E2G. The product stands out for its improved use of the raw material—sugarcane—by increasing ethanol production by up to 50% using the same planted area, expanding the possibility of supplying global markets. Today our E2G is already reaching the European and North American markets, supporting international companies in meeting their decarbonization goals.
More than 70% of the raw material extracted by the 23 bioenergy plants in operation under our management in 2020/2021 is committed to meeting contracts already signed. To expand our biomass availability, thereby streamlining the energy transition, we must integrate new assets. A company as financially sound as ours looks at market opportunities with a lot of capital discipline and does business only after identifying a strategic fit and the right timing.
We also remain focused on expanding our share in the sugar value chain, a front that confirmed the resilience of our portfolio in 2020/2021. On one hand, there was a drop in fuel consumption, especially in aviation; on the other hand, sugar operations balanced results, both in volume and price. Because we are an exporting company, we felt the positive effects on revenue despite the depreciation of the Brazilian Real against the US dollar.
We are confident, however, that we are very well positioned to continue offering the necessary energy to mobilize people and power businesses. The 2020/2021 harvest was full of challenges, but also offered many opportunities. We ended the period on the verge of celebrating 10 years of a path that has transformed us from sugar, ethanol, and bioenergy producers and fuel distributors into a global reference in bioenergy, positioned for a new cycle of growth and expansion in pursuit of our greatest aspiration: leading the energy transition. I am grateful to the whole team, which encourages me every day to keep moving forward, always going beyond, to redefine the future of energy.
Thank you very much!
CEO of Raízen