Business sector demands action from the Brazilian government on the sustainability agenda
On July 6, the Brazilian business sector filed a bulletin with the Vice-President and the National Council of the Legal Amazon Region (chaired by Hamilton Mourão) communicating its support of the sustainable development agenda and the fight against deforestation in the Amazon. The document contains signatures from CEOs of approximately 40 companies and business groups in the industrial, agricultural, and service sectors, as well as four organizations: the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG), the Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibá), and the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE). The document will also be filed with the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (PGR).
The main objective of this letter is to highlight these signatories’ 'attention and concern with the business impact of Brazil's current negative image abroad related to socioenvironmental issues in the Amazon region,' and also indicates immediate actions to be taken to address negative reactions seen among foreign investors and consumers in the country.
The executives note that this negative image has enormous potential to damage Brazil, not just in terms of its reputation but also by affecting business and projects that are essential for the country. 'The federal government must present assurances to the Brazilian business sector that some of the following actions and commitments we are presenting here will get put into action,' says Marina Grossi, president of CEBDS.
As for the Amazon and other Brazilian biomes, the group supports rigid and comprehensive action to fight illegal deforestation. 'For the business sector that operates within the law and does the right thing, in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, there is no discrepancy between production and preservation. Even the Forest Code, which was built after wide-reaching dialog between academia, environmentalists, the private sector, and government, establishes conservation and production as premises. Illegal deforestation is a crime,' summarizes Ibá president Paulo Hartung.
In the letter, the business sector notes that some of the signatory companies are already developing business solutions that involve the bioeconomy, with added value and traceability for products, even in the Amazon region. 'Good practices can be scaled up through consistent policies to promote the environmental, social, and governance agendas,' states Marcello Brito, president of ABAG.
Besides effectively fighting illegal deforestation, the document notes additional priorities: (I) social and economic inclusion of local communities to ensure that forests are preserved; (ii) minimizing environmental impacts from the use of natural resources, pursuing efficiency and productivity in economic activities that use these resources; (iii) respecting and preserving biodiversity as an integral part of business strategies; (iv) adopting mechanisms for trading carbon credits; (v) funding and investment for a circular, low-carbon economy; and (vi) economic stimulus packages to recover from the coronavirus pandemic that are conditional upon a circular and low-carbon economy.
The document ends with a message of optimism, recalling that Brazil has a unique opportunity, resources, and the expertise to scale up good practices, and to strategically plan the sustainable future of the country. It also adds that investments to address and recuperate the Brazilian economy must be redirected into a circular, low-carbon, and inclusive economic model.
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