We are living a peculiar moment in our country, as not commonly seen in our recent History. For the most fearful people, instability moments like this require pause and careful steps. For us, there is no other more timely moment to strongly reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development and seek a priority position for this agenda when the Brazilian economy resumes growing.
This is exactly the spirit with which CEBDS has been facing the difficulties presented by the political and economic scenarios. And our actions in the first half of this year are proof of that.
Last month I represented CEBDS in the conference The Rio Climate Challenge – Rio Clima 2017, held as part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of historical Rio-92. Next to national and international experts, I defended the path towards de-carbonizing the economy, which brings several challenges and opportunities to the business sector, as demonstrated in our study about opportunities arising from the Brazilian NDC.
Our studies have been read by the Brazilian ministers of environment and foreign affairs in addition to the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa. Result of the advocacy promoted by our Council of Leaders, the publication will serve as base for the production of the National Plan for Implementing and Funding Brazil’s NDC, according to the minister of environment, Sarney Filho.
In the first six months of the year, two studies carried out by CEBDS have reached international heights. In April, I represented our organization in the second High level Assembly Meeting, promoted by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC), which we are strategic partners of. At that occasion, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Report was presented, highlighting the paper; Carbon Pricing: what the business sector needs to know to adopt a position”. Our paper was selected as one of the top 3 actions from Brazil in favor of adopting carbon pricing.
Also in April, we gladly received the news that another paper we published – the Guide for Emitting Green Bonds in Brazil, in partnership with Febraban – was honored by the Green Bond Award 2017, from Environmental Finance, as the “Initiative of the Year”.
CEBDS has been quickly advancing in the bioenergy sector. We have formed a partnership with below50, a global collaborative network for the development of the biofuel market. Together with the Brazilian Industrial Biotechnology Association (ABBI), the Brazilian Biodiesel and Biojetfuel Union (Ubrabio) and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (Unica), we started the below-50 South American hub with the purpose of promoting and supporting initiatives that drive the use of biofuels in Brazil, such as RenovaBio 2030, a Federal Government’s program that will prove to be crucial to the advancement of this agenda and which will soon be presented.
However, in the national scenario, the debate over provisional presidential decrees (PLs) 756/2016 and 758/2016 has been reason for concern. The reduction of environmental protection and conservation areas represents a regression and an obstacle to the fulfillment of commitments taken on by Brazil in the Paris Agreement. CEBDS, as well as several other organizations and celebrities, have shown its contrary position to the approval of said provisional decrees.
Fortunately, the measures have been vetoed by the President, Michel Temer, but this battle is not over yet. Minister Sarney Filho has already published a video alerting that the government would send to Congress a Legislation Project restating the proposal from the provisional decrees.
On July 13th, the House of Representatives received as urgency PL 8107/2017, proposing the reduction of National Jamanxim forest in Pará by about 350 thousand hectares. The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forest and Agriculture, of which we are one of the founders, has issued a position against this movement of destroying our forests. During a meeting of the Brazilian Forum for Climate Change (FBMC), Marcelo Furtado, a Coalition’s facilitator, highlighted that “deforestation is like inflation, any increase is bad news for everybody.” That is why – and considering the increasing deforestation indexes in the region and the climate commitments taken on by the country – we will always have a position of guaranteeing the legitimacy and urgency of this agenda.
More recently, as of the G20 meeting, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) delivered to global leaders a letter signed by 390 CEOs reinforcing the business sector’s support to the Paris Agreement. As representatives of WBCSD in Brazil, we delivered to president Michel Temer the position of the active business sector of our country.
Still in the early days of July, we went down the Amazon river in a boat to discuss water security and the challenges we face due to climate change. The Global Water Summit, an event we organized in partnership with our associate Coca-Cola, brought together the business sector and society – including international representatives – as the case of our partners from WBCSD. After three days of discussions, we wrote a collective letter in which we reaffirm our commitment to the development of this agenda, trying to intensify our actions on the issue. The letter will be presented at the World Water Week, which will be held between August 27th and September 1st in Stockholm.
There is still a long way to go and there are plenty of challenges to be faced, but we need to celebrate our victories. Always. And this year we celebrate 20 years of intense articulation and mobilization with the business sector in favor of the sustainability agenda. And to make this date more special, we will hold the seminar “The role of business in the new economy”, which will bring together CEOs and high-level representatives of acting companies in Brazil. It will serve as a moment to exchange lessons and proposals, looking forward to the next 20, 30, 50 years.
As of the Seminar, inspired by a similar action by WBCSD, for the first time, we will especially recognize women’s work with our CEBDS Award for Feminine Leadership. We believe that valuing diversity is an investment in a better world, something also aimed by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030.
We have not and will not back down. We will keep on pushing, being aware of the fact that our work is crucial to the construction of a sustainable future to us all.