Smallholder farmers are the backbone of rural economies the world over, managing more than 60% of the world’s arable lands, and growing more than 80% of the food we eat. Despite their global importance, smallholder farms are home to 1 billion of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure people.
Sistema.bio helps smallholder farmers address the challenges they face by using clean technology. By selling their patented biodigester and other biogas products, while also providing access to equitable financing and capacity building support, Sistema.bio is able to:
- Improve agricultural outputs reducing hunger and benefitting livelihoods
- Increase use of affordable and clean energy improving household health and environmental outcomes
- Improve waste management thereby reducing environmental degradation
In 2016, after 6 years of operation, Sistema.bio was experiencing impressive financial, environmental and social returns across Mexico. Building on this success, Sistema.bio’s leadership was keen to replicate their impact internationally. However, they didn’t yet have a strategy or an implementation plan for where and when to scale.
Spring Impact worked with Sistema.bio to co-develop a scale strategy, ultimately recommending replication through a hybrid approach involving establishing operations in new geographies and leveraging local partnerships.
Spring Impact’s design for scale methodology helped Sistema.bio to systematically identify and plan for key operational requirements, including the need to work through established partners in new markets. With the hybrid approach, Sistema.bio aims to maximize their impact and reach without compromising the quality of their products. Using the co-developed model, Sistema.bio was able to successfully scale to their first international markets; Nicaragua and Colombia.
Once Sistema.bio had a plan, they needed support to operationalize it. Spring Impact supported them to systemize the tools and processes required for effective delivery, to conduct market research into prioritized expansion areas, and to refine their operational approach based on what they learned.
“What was most useful in working with Spring Impact was the systematic frameworks and structures they gave us. The team pushed us to make decisions, document key thinking, and then adapt to the reality.
Now we’ve re-created our solution in key regions all across the world.” – Esther Altorfer, Managing Director, East Africa
Using the recommended scale model, by 2018 Sistema.bio had replicated from Mexico to four countries including Nicaragua, Colombia, Kenya, and India. They continue to plan for entry into new markets based on their learnings to-date.
In the 10 years since launching, Sistema.bio has scaled to become the world’s largest integrated biogas energy company. To date they have installed over 22,000 digesters and enabled more than 134,000 people to produce clean renewable energy.
Photo: Mayan Family next to their Sistema8, Mexico. 2020. Copyright © Sistema.bio. Photographer: Celsa Calderoni