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Fazenda São Nicolau Project

From more than 10,800 carbon offsetting initiatives, Solvay chose Fazenda São Nicolau, an Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation (ARR) project implemented in the municipality of Cotriguaçu in the northwest of the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. It is a region known as the arc of deforestation in the Amazon, where the original forest has been cut down to create immense pastureland and soybean monoculture areas, impacting the environment and biodiversity.

In addition to the contribution to combating climate change, Fazenda São Nicolau preserves biodiversity and positively impacts the communities that live in the threatened biome.

The project was created in 1998 in a partnership between Peugeot and the Office National des Forêts (ONF), a French organization founded over a hundred years ago, specializing in the planting and management of sustainable forests. The farm belongs to Peugeot. Currently, it is managed by ONF Brazil. 


The farm in numbers*:

Carbon Neutral - Coatis - Numbers


Fazenda São Nicolau’s activities

  • Reforestation - Forest Carbon Sink (1,974 ha)

The reforestation area generates carbon credits. From 1999 to 2004, 2.5 million of native tree seedlings were planted. As they grow, trees capture carbon molecules out of the atmosphere in the process of photosynthesis. The expression carbon sink refers to the fact that the carbon is stored in the trees, generating the credits that are issued by the Verra company based on the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) methodology.

  • Forestry Management Area/FMA (5,350 ha)

Divided into sub-areas called Annual Protection Units (APUs), this is where sustainable timber management occurs, supported by technically and scientifically validated methodologies. Part of the wood is extracted and sold, contributing to the generation of revenue to maintain the project. These areas are then left fallow for complete plant regeneration.

  • Private Natural Heritage Reserve/PNHR (1,815 ha)

This is an area of pristine, untouchable forest that conserves biodiversity. No kind of economic activity, even if it is sustainable, is allowed. In some areas, even visits are banned. The PNHR is permanent, meaning this status remains even if the land is sold.

  • Permanent Preservation Areas/PPA (120 ha)

These are areas around the Juruena River (on the eastern edge of the farm), with springs, streams, and degraded slopes that have been recovered by planting native seedlings.

  • Other areas (972 ha)

Clearings, buildings, and common areas of the farm: administrative headquarters, lodgings, the cafeteria, auditorium, corral, vegetable garden, laboratory, workshop, office, water well, chicken coop, and so on.

Other aspects of the project

Scientific research

The Federal University of Mato Grosso and scientific entities, such as the National Institute of Amazonian Research, and France’s Center for Agricultural Research for International Development, among others, use the farm as a basis for the development of dozens of studies that contribute to the generation of knowledge about afforestation/reforestation, biodiversity, and sustainable development.

Social impact

Sustainable nut collection
A partnership with the Brazil Nut Collectors Association in the Juruena Settlement Project. The entity represents about 70 associates who work in the sustainable, commercial harvesting of Brazil nuts at Fazenda São Nicolau and its surroundings. In addition to generating income for the community, this encourages them to see the forest as an important asset that needs to be preserved. Collectors then become guardians who help prevent invasions, illegal logging, and arson.

Environmental Education Program

Each year, about 100 children from schools in the region visit the farm to experience it as a fun and informative learning experience about reforestation, the importance of the forest, agroecology, and sustainable practices. This helps develop a new mentality in children that influences their families.


The farm can be visited by eco-tourists interested in the project, observing, and photographing the Amazon’s nature and wildlife. Most are foreign tourists. This is a source of financial resources that help fund the project. 


Farm São Nicolau
ONF Brasil/divulgação

A step-by-step guide to carbon credits

The Fazenda Sao Nicolau project is certified by Verra, a non-profit organization that manages the world's leading voluntary carbon markets program, the Verified Carbon Standard Program (VCS). Verra is one of the most widely used carbon offset certifiers.

  • Trees sequester CO2.
  • Each ton of CO2 sequestered by reforestation generates a carbon credit. 

  • The volume of CO2 sequestered is calculated annually by the farm team based on the VCS methodology. 

  • Every five years, the farm is audited by a company accredited by Verra, checking the quantification and calculation of the carbon sequestered in the period. 

  • Verra-certified carbon credits are traded on an electronic platform.
  • The purchasing company incorporates the acquired credits into its carbon inventory. When the company uses the acquired credit to reduce its emissions, the credit is formally “retired" in a document. 

  • In Solvay's case, the carbon credits acquired are used to neutralize products’ carbon footprints.