Helen McKenzie

Sistema.bio's Story: Optimizing field operations with CARTO

The Circular Economy is a cornerstone of sustainability. It’s defined as a model of production and consumption where the lifecycle of materials and products is extended. This can be achieved through sharing, reusing, refurbishing and recycling (European Parliament). The aim of this is to reduce waste while deriving further value from every single thing.

Sistema.bio is an organization which absolutely encapsulates what the Circular Economy is all about. They produce and install biodigesters for smallholder farmers around the world. The biodigesters turn animal manure into fertilizer and biogas, an infinitely more sustainable - and circular - process than burning the alternatives: charcoal, firewood or Liquid Petroleum Gas - LPG.

Sistema.bio circular economy graphic

The Circular economy at Sistema.bio

CARTO recently caught up with Maxence Affre - Technical Director at Sistema.bio - to hear more about how Location Intelligence has transformed their business operations.

About Sistema.bio

Sistema.bio’s mission is to drive sustainability through transforming waste into energy. As well as having economic, air quality and waste reduction benefits for farmers, their solution also decreases the need for chemical fertilizers and improves health, as the alternative (charcoal and firewood burners) would typically be placed inside homes with little ventilation.

Founded in 2011, they have installed over 35,000 biodigesters across Latin America, Africa and Asia, providing benefits to over 220,000 people! Check out some of the other amazing ways they’re changing the world below or read more about how they’re contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on their website.

Impact KPIs


As the smallest solution starts at approximately $1,000, Sistema.bio also provides customers with interest-free financing for the solution. According to their estimates, the cost savings from investing in the system mean most customers are able to pay these loans back within 1-2 years.

In addition to the system and finances, Sistema.bio offers training, installation and support services. All of these activities - as well as their door-to-door sales and promotional activities - makes for complex and wide-ranging operations, and that’s where CARTO & Location Intelligence comes in.

Location Intelligence at Sistema.bio

Sistema.bio is a global company that operates on a hyper-local level. Their sales, credit, installation and training programmes span 3 continents, but operate on an individual, business-to-customer basis. They’ve been CARTO users since 2017, prior to which their scale of operations was much smaller and could be handled with more traditional business intelligence tools such as Salesforce and Microsoft Excel. As the scale of their operations increased, so did the size of their data and their need for efficient processes. Enter CARTO.

Location Intelligence for Operations Planning

Kenya Operation Planning Map


With operations spanning such a large geographical area, it’s crucial for Sistema.bio to be able to optimize the activities of their field staff, whether that’s their credit, installation, sales or training teams. Most of these processes are managed in Salesforce and transferred to CARTO through an ETL process; read more about CARTO integrations with the Salesforce CRM here.

Sistema.bio visualizes all existing and pending biodigester installations, empowering the staff to make informed decisions on their team resourcing and activities. With over 15,000 existing digester locations on one map (and over 30,000 yet to come by 2023) - as well as dynamic widgets and user-selected styling - CARTO’s ability to handle big data is absolutely crucial for Sistema.bio.

Analytics & Market Strategy

Heat map regions


Sistema.bio is a company committed to growth and improving the lives of an increasing number of farmers with their biodigester system. In order to do this, they need to know where they currently have a strong market presence, and where they could be expanding. Visualizing their existing customer base - such as through heatmaps in the example above - is a fantastic way to quickly build location into strategy.

Where next for Sistema.bio?

As Sistema.bio continues to grow, they have ambitions to further leverage Location Intelligence with CARTO to support and enhance their operations. In particular, they are keen to increase their usage of CARTO’s Analytics Toolbox to further deepen their insight into their operations. For instance, the routing module could help improve the efficiency of their field teams, through route optimization or building isolines (drive-time catchments).

They are keen to explore how they can grow their activities through Geomarketing, i.e. location-based targeted marketing activities. The 11,000 datasets in CARTO’s Spatial Data Catalog are of great benefit to Geomarketing analytics, in particular offering insights on human mobility and demographics. These can be used to identify locations with a large number of target customers, which can be further quantified through functions such as Getis-Ord (i.e. hot spot identification) in the Statistics module. This function empowers users to identify and - importantly - quantify hotspots of potential customers, enabling them to target marketing and sales activities.

Location Intelligence for Sustainable business models

Location Intelligence is a fundamental tool for the success of any business model, particularly those with hyper-local geographies. Sistema.bio embracing Location Intelligence allows them to operate more efficiently and therefore target - and help - more customers. It also empowers them to be a confidently forward-thinking company, enabling them to define where the next customers are who will have their lives changed by Sistema.bio’s amazing technology.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Maxence Affre for sharing Sistema.bio’s story with us! We can’t wait to see where their amazing journey leads to next. If you’re interested in learning more about their story, make sure you drop by Sistema.bio.

Your turn!

Interested in learning how you can improve your operational efficiency with Location Intelligence? Get in touch with CARTO today to find out how you can use Location Intelligence to optimize your operations and make the most informed decisions.

map from Carto

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About the author
Helen McKenzie

Geospatial Advocate at CARTO

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