Brazil may have global protagonism on sustainability, says Pavan Sukhdev
São Paulo - Pavan Sukhdev, economist and President of WWF International’s Board, defended Brazil's role as an example of green economy in the world, during the Seminar "Green Economy - A View of Brazil 2030", held by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp), in São Paulo, on November 23.
Sukhdev cited the behavioral change of the new generations as an opportunity for more sustainable new businesses and called for swift action to curb the advance of deforestation and overexploitation of natural resources.
According to Sukhdev, "Brazil has all the necessary conditions to be a world leader in sustainability and economics. Companies have begun to understand that the preservation of natural resources is an irreversible global trend", he said.
The economist also advocated investments in human capital. "Developed countries now reap the rewards of investing in human capital. And this’s where the true wealth of countries is: in people, not in oil. What will keep the world growing are people. With better human capital, the trends for all sectors to evolve too, especially on the environmental agenda", said Sukhdev.
One of the themes addressed at the seminar was the use of chemicals for food production. "Agriculture is biology, not chemical components, that cause soil sterility. Foods that supply most of the population absorb the toxicity of the soil, which’s passed on to humans. This nocuous and vicious cycle of contamination needs to be stopped immediately", said Sukhdev.
One of the key drivers of change is the pressure of new generations, who are looking to know what kind of product they are eating, where the food they eat comes from, and how the materials they use are made. This generation is transforming the consumption relationship and pushing the market for rapid change.
Also participating in the debate the president of Rede Brasil of the United Nations Global Compact, Denise Hills, highlighted: "Business that’s not sustainable isn’t a business. Even if it's still profitable today". Hills argues that organizations need to predict sustainability in the operational strategy of their business not as a risk but as a key asset to the operation. WWF-Brasil is a signatory of the Brazil Network of the Global Compact and a member of the Water WG.
For Fibria president Marcelo Castelli, the evolution towards a low carbon sustainable economy will be by design or by disaster. "We are following by design. We are resolving our conflicts with dialogue and cooperation and are moving towards an increasingly green economy", says the executive.
According to the president of energy distributor and generator EDP Brazil, Miguel Setas, one of the main solutions is in smart cities. "These models can reduce the impact by providing energy cogeneration and by stimulating generation from renewable sources. Today, Brazil has the cleanest energy matrix in the world and we still have the potential to be even better at it."
Nelson Pereira dos Reis, director of the Department of Sustainable Development at Fiesp, says there’s no option other than sustainability. "This’s the path our companies must follow if they are to be competitive. I’m very pleased and happy to see that we are taking the right path here", he said.
The meeting brought together industry representatives, scientists and entrepreneurs. Among the speakers were also Fabio Gandour, a physician, computer scientist and researcher; Roberto Waack, of the Brazil Coalition, Climate, Forestry and Agriculture and president of the Renova Foundation; Izabella Teixeira, master in energy planning, doctor in environmental planning and former Minister of the Environment; Mário Sérgio Vasconcelos, director of Sustainability and Marketing at Febraban; Sandra Guerra, founder of Better Governance Consulting and GRI Counselor; and Juliano Seabra, TOTVS 'head of Innovation and New Business.