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Mamut is a Bolivian company whose main goal is to build safe and sustainable cities through the manufacturing of construction materials from recycled products. In order to achieve this, the company has developed new technologies capable of transforming the rubber from old tires into cushion floors, a process that was highly costly before. Through its efforts, Mamut is contributing to several of the SDGs; making cities safe and sustainable (SDG 11), fostering innovation and sustainable industrialization (SDG 9) and ensuring sustainable production patterns (SDG 12).
Brothers Manuel and Antonio Laredo envisioned Mamut long before the company was created in 2013. They wanted to find a way to improve people’s quality of life in their home country, Bolivia, by converting waste into a source of value for their community. Manuel clearly remembers the moment he realized there were more used tires in Bolivia than people, something that pushed him to found Mamut.
Mamut is a company dedicated to transform the rubber from recycled tires into cushion flooring used mainly for safety purposes in playgrounds, gyms and sport courts. Initially, the technology required to transform rubber was highly costly and unavailable in Bolivia; therefore, Manuel and Antonio asked their mom for permission to work in her kitchen and eventually developed a formula that made this process inexpensive. Mamut has kept growing since that day developing more products and recently opening one of the first sustainable factories in Bolivia. This facility has increased Mamut’s production volume and its capability to export products to other countries in the region.
According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, more than 300 million tires are disposed every year only in the US. Mamut has transformed thousands of used tires from landfills and streets into innovative products, developing safer and more sustainable cities. This project is reducing the negative impact of tire disposal. Originally, tires are non biodegradable products, that become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, cause work injuries and deaths for those who work in landfills, have the potential for fires, produce acid smoke, and take up landfill space, reducing the value of homes and causing socioeconomic segregation in low income areas. Additionally, people have found income opportunities, by recycling tires for Mamut.
A TIREless Effort for a Brigther Future
“We don’t really sell a product. We construct sustainable cities, and we want to be a leader in Latin America selling and manufacturing products for sustainable construction” says Antonio Laredo when asked about the inspiration begin Mamut. Antonio and his brother Manuel saw the opportunity to accomplish this by tackling one of the most critical global environmental problems; discarded tires.
Antonio is clearly aware of the many aspects that make tires so harmful for our planet; its expensive manufacturing process (half a barrel of crude oil is used to make a truck tire); high cost of recycling and disappearance; environmental pollution generated by not being properly recycled and the proliferation of diseases such as dengue, chicunguña and zika. Bolivia currently imports 1.5 Million tires without a mitigation plan for then polluting effects they generate once they are in disuse, something that truly worries Antonio. He affirms “the way we live today is not sustainable. Resources are becoming scarce and prices are going up. We believe this is an opportunity to redesign the products we have in the market, as well as their production system… and this tendency has to become the rule…” The traditional tire recycling model is not viable in small and intermediate cities due to investment, quantity of tires and market development of green products. This makes intermediate and small cities restrictive access to tire recycling if it is not through an innovative model based on the circular economy.
Committed to strengthening the objective of creating sustainable cities with responsible consumer behavior and aligned with the need for more sustainable construction materials, Mamut is committed to generate a technology-based industry with an impact vision by turning local problems into business opportunities.
Mamut’s impact is wide in reach; it reduces waste deposits, creates safe and inclusive spaces such as parks and sport fields, strengths the circular economy, encourages a new wave of sustainable, innovative ideas in the developing world, and additionally reduces the breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry zilka, dengue and other diseases. Antonio reaffirms their commitment to have a real impact by saying, “I believe a better world is a more sustainable world, a more inclusive world and world that focuses on a triple impact… something that we do at Mamut.”
To date, Mamut has revaluated more than 1,000 tons of rubber, and for 2019 it has established a goal of increasing this amount by 26% respecting the previous year. This number represents more than 172,000 tires reused in the three countries where Mamut operates. Additionally, Mamut, along with the government and some local institutions, has created more than 86 parks (ekoparks), which are sustainable parks located mainly in low-income communities. With its cushion flooring, Mamut tries to make of these parks a safe and recreational space for children and their families, improving life quality in these challenged sectors.
Mamut has become a pioneer in Bolivia regarding recycling and sustainable practices in general. In 2018, the number of recycled rubber suppliers increased in 4%. These providers are usually low-income individuals who find in recycling tires a new source of income for their families. To reinforce this new wave even more, Mamut offers workshops to architects and designers (more than 8,000 to date) in Bolivia where the company teaches them about new sustainability practices, materials and its importance for the future. Mamut not only has been working to have an impact in Bolivia; as right now, it is present in 3 other countries, and its goal for 2019 is to open a fourth market in Uruguay.
The company started operations in 2013, reaching economic sustainability from the first year. By 2018, Mamut had reached sales of a little more of USD$ 1M, an increase of approximately 33% regarding the previous year. Total revenue for the same year was approximately USD$ 140K. According to Mamut and the statistical data of the economy sizes, the Bolivian market represents 0.60% of the Latin American market. This allows to interpret that the potential demand for recycled rubber products has a potential demand of USD$ 117M in Latin America.
Mamut obtains its revenue from the sale of its products. Mamut’s quality makes the company competitive in Bolivia and America. Its prices are 25% cheaper than similar products in Mexico and 50% cheaper than those in the U.S. For the Bolivian market, the objective is to develop it even further, massifying sales in all states and participating with local governments in the generation of urban innovation projects that use their products. The plan for international expansion has two phases; the first is through the export of Mamut’s products to other countries and the second through partnership with local investors and governments in special projects.
For the next 2 years, the market tendency will focus on competitive prices in rubber products and specially flooring. For this reason, Mamut has been investing in developing new products and improving its innovation department to reach a position as leader in Latin America. With this purpose in mind, Mamut built last year a new production facility in Santa Cruz Bolivia aimed to increase volume and lead Mamut into the 4.0 industry sector. Additionally, another plant is currently being built in Uruguay. Regarding employment, Mamut has created directly a little more than 20 job opportunities mainly for young individuals who have never had a job before; however, this number will increase once the new facility in Uruguay begins operations.
Thanks to Mamut’s efforts, more than 600,000 users have seen an improvement in their quality of life. This is the result of the more than 1,000 projects in 22 cities in 3 different countries in Latin America. Low-income neighborhoods now have safer recreational spaces such as parks and sport fields that not only encourage physical activities, but they also prevent other negative activities like vandalism and drug consumption. The company has also created awareness of sustainable practices, something relatively new in countries like Bolivia. It has even made popular the term “ekopark” in Bolivia to refer to parks that are sustainable and safer for their users.
Regarding urban innovation, Mamut works directly with three main groups; 1) neighbors and neighborhoods by having training and technical visits to the projects in development and by sharing ideas for new implementations in other public spaces, 2) architects and designers who are trained by Mamut in co-design, urban innovation, circular economy and sustainable architecture and 3) politicians and public officials by promoting public and private investment in urban projects, signing agreements and joint cooperation agreements and attending corporate events where various authorities participate to further a sustainable agenda.
Besides the environmental benefits already discussed, Mamut is a carbon-neutral company through the GreenCloud platform, which allows the company to differentiate its product for specific niche markets. Additionally, Mamut is first B-certified company in Bolivia endorsing its commitment to the community, environment and profitability.
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Antonio Laredo, Founder
Mamut solves construction problems based on innovative practices and a focus on a social and environmental impact. It produces recycled construction materials to build more sustainable cities.