This case study is based on an article published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The original article can be found here.
WHO: Bioestibas, led by Álvaro Vásquez Osorio, CEO
Agricultural waste is a worldwide issue that can cause environmental contamination and is costly to handle and dispose. These issues hold true for the Antioquia region of Colombia, which produces 60,000 tons of agricultural waste from farming and related industries annually.
"When our team of professionals worked on the development of a ‘green resin’, and when the traditional producers of chemical resins simultaneously tripled their prices, we understood the imperative of protecting our technology with IP rights." - Bioestibas CEO Álvaro Vásquez Osorio
Bioestibas is the first ecological pallet plant in Latin America; pallets are a fundamental product in packaging and logistics. The company, headquartered in La Ceja, Colombia, produces and commercializes earth-friendly pallets made from agricultural waste, particularly flower stems, that would have otherwise been destroyed. The final product is fireproof, water- and pest- resistant, lighter and stronger than traditional pallets, serving as an innovative alternative used by businesses across the globe.
Drawing on research from the National University of Colombia that found hydrangea fibers are more suitable for industrial purposes than coniferous woods, Bioestibas developed the necessary technology for extracting these fibers and mixing with their “green resin” to create a more sustainable product. This unique process, incentivized and protected by intellectual property (IP) rights, underscores the importance of IP as a catalyst for innovative technology that can spur both environmental and economic benefit.
"We saw an opportunity to create value from the large volume of agricultural waste produced by local flower growers and developed a novel way to convert this waste into our high-value eco-pallets,” said Bioestibas CEO Álvaro Vásquez Osorio. “We understood the imperative of protecting our technology with IP rights.”
Today, Bioestibas partners with 1,100 local farmers to transform 250 tons of plant waste into fully recyclable pallets each month, providing an important boost to the local economy. The company exports 98 percent of its products, generating nearly 3.5 million USD in annual sales. What’s more, Bioestibas’ green business model prevents the felling of 775 trees every month and around 1,260 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by avoiding the burning of agricultural waste.
The team at Bioestibas views IP rights as vital for the proliferation of the “green economy” and the sustainable future it provides. Bioestibas leverages IP to spur environmental and economic benefits in Colombia and abroad.