Sustainability is good business

By Marina Grossi, president of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS)

Science shows that we have no time to waste and calls for impactful actions in relation to climate change. Recently, the March for Science, which originated in Washington, took over the world with this purpose, in clear response to the stances adopted by Donald Trump.

One study recently launched by the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS) points out that ignoring this agenda is, in addition to disrespecting science, bad business. The study analyzes the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that Brazil adopted in the context of the Paris Agreement and concludes that they open up undeniable economic opportunities. A window that can allow the country to reorder its development model on a sustainable basis and reposition itself in a more competitive way in the new global agenda that runs until 2030.

It is estimated that the forestry and land use sector, currently responsible for more than 50% of the country's emissions, will contribute to negative net emissions in 2030, removing 131 million tCO2e from the atmosphere. To achieve this, in addition to controlling illegal deforestation, we must promote the multiple use of forests. The use of forested areas has a synergistic effect with other Brazilian goals.

Considering the commitment to restore and reforest 12 million hectares by 2030, planting productive plant species is one of these opportunities, as it provides a quick return on investment. In the forest restoration chain, the demand for inputs can contribute, over 30 months, around R$ 13 thousand per restored hectare.

Agriculture will have the challenge of increasing its production without incorporating new areas or threats to biomes. It is possible to quadruple productivity by applying practices such as the recovery of degraded pastures and the integration of crops and livestock and forest, in addition to highlighting the opportunities that will arise with the creation of new markets through environmental reserve quotas and payments for environmental services, which will make less costly to eliminate the deficit of maintaining and/or recovering legal reserves and Permanent Preservation Areas. It will still be essential to intensify the Low Carbon Agriculture Program and the already advanced technological innovation.

In the energy sector, the growth in the supply of renewable sources will require a significant expansion of current installed capacity, especially for ethanol production. The NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) foresees an expansion of ethanol production to 45 billion liters in 2025 and to 54 billion in 2030. A reduction in the costs of photovoltaic and wind technologies and the modernization of energy infrastructure are also expected. electricity generation and distribution.

Energy efficiency will be crucial for the industry to achieve its goals, as will process efficiency: the use of waste in the form of a circular economy can bring major revenue gains in the long term. It is worth mentioning that 40% of the sector's mitigation potential allows for a quick return on investment.

Investments in low-carbon transport infrastructure have the potential to reduce freight costs and benefit the industrial and agricultural sectors. Modal integration, with the expansion of waterway and rail transport, can mean a reduction of more than 50% in the total cost per ton transported per kilometer. Furthermore, the electrification of rail transport and the development of hybrid propulsion systems on vessels can reduce energy consumption by up to 33%.

Definitely, the new low-carbon economy is a good deal for Brazil.

Article originally published in the newspaper The globe on May 22, 2017.


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