Case Folio
Sistema Biobolsa: Addressing Challenges of Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture and Waste Management in Mexico

Article Details
Pub. Date : June' 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Case Folio
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJCF30621
Author Name : Indu Perepu
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 21



The case chronicles the innovation in bio-digester technology by Alex Eaton and Camilo Pages through a social enterprise in Mexico called 'Sistema Biobolsa'. It describes how the two social entrepreneurs created an innovative new waste and resource management system by reimagining the 150-year-old biogas production system by using a high-quality membrane, durable modular parts, and anaerobic bio-digesters that transformed animal waste into renewable energy (biogas) and organic fertilizer. Sistems Biobolsa addressed several challenges that small and marginal farmers in Mexico and across the world faced-low yielding land due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers, lack of organic fertilizers, unviable waste disposal methods, and limited access to energy. Sistema Biobolsa converted organic waste into organic fer tilizer and renewable energy. Its impact was manifold. With an investment of US$600, a farmer with two cows could save up to US$40 per month in the cost of fuel and fertilizers. The biogas produced was environment-friendly, reduced methane emissions, resulted in better waste management, reduced deforestation, protected the soil, and also improved the quality of life of the farmers. To cater to the needs of different farmers, the bio-digesters were available in several sizes and could be installed within a few hours. After the first month, the farmers could start using the system. The company provided loans to farmers to install the system, and also extended technical support to them in using it. Eaton expanded into Kenya, Colombia, Nicaragua, and India, but there were still many issues that he needed to address. He had to improve distribution to reach more than 4 million small farmers in Mexico. He was looking at making a huge impact to address the issues of global warming and climate change. But, can a small venture in Mexico be scaled up to address these huge global problems?

Sistema Biobolsa is a project with many benefits. Using organic waste that, through the fermentation process, produces biogas, and using this biogas in cooking stoves generates savings for families and helps us all protect the environment. So it is good for health, good for the economy and good to fight against poverty.i

- Felipe Calderon Hinoj osa,
Former President of Mexico

The bio-digester is not an end in itself, but rather the means to change rural farmers' energy use and their perception of their own conditions.ii

- Alex Eaton,
Co-founder of Sistema Biobolsa


Small farmers contributed to 70% of the global food production.1 The challenges they faced were innumerable-ranging from limited access to energy, increased use of chemical fertilizers, low yielding land, decreased farm output, increased input costs, etc. These were the issues that bothered Alex Eaton (Eaton), who worked with companies involved in providing alternative energy to the poor. In this endeavor, he partnered with Camilo Pages (Pages), who was involved in marketing eco-friendly technologies.

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