Business and Biodiversity in Brazil: Why Private Restoration is an Important Issue against the Reality of Climate Change and Environmental Pressure
André v. Ramalho, Raquel L. Bonelli, Luan Santos, Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS)
ABSTRACT. Brazil is a megadiverse country with forests covering more than 54% of its territory. Nevertheless, some ecosystems are threatened and reduced to some 7% of their original area, as in the case of the Atlantic Forest. Deforestation has historically been the major issue in Brazil in terms of both greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and pressure on biodiversity, with the main cause being land-use changes for the expansion of agriculture and cattle-ranching. To address these issues, the Brazilian Government makes use of several legal norms, such as the Forest Code. The Code calls for setting aside 20-80 per cent of the area of each rural property for the preservation of native forest and it underpins the Brazilian intended Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC) of restoring 12 million hectares of forests set out at the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Even with all the legal requirements, which also include mitigation projects and offset compensation, Brazil is seeing a growth in voluntary restoration efforts by businesses. Several companies are currently collaborating on natural infrastructure development, payment for ecosystem services and carbon-neutrality projects, all using restoration as a tool. The results of these projects are practical and, in addition to the traditional environmental and social impacts, they have clear operational benefits for businesses. This agenda is being advanced through risk and dependency analysis, operational security, new business opportunities, financial and investment requirements and by a positive socio environmental agenda. The country’s recent droughts have clearly helped, for example, in the expansion and development of natural infrastructure projects. The time is ripe for mobilizing and engaging business in conservation and restoration projects, especially when the multiple benefits of this agenda are linked to climate change and water issues.
Entreprises et biodiversité au Brésil: pourquoi la restauration par le secteur privé est un enjeu important dans un contexte de changement climatique et de pression sur l’environnement
RÉSUMÉ. Le Brésil est un pays mégadivers avec des forêts couvrant plus de 54% de son territoire. Cependant, certains écosystèmes sont menacés et réduits à quelque 7% de leur superficie d’origine, comme dans le cas de la Forêt atlantique. Le déboisement a toujours été le principal problème au Brésil en termes d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) et de pression sur la biodiversité. Ce sont les changements d’affectation des terres pour l’expansion de l’agriculture et de l’élevage qui en sont la principale cause. Pour faire face à ces problèmes, le gouvernement brésilien utilise plusieurs normes juridiques, comme le Code forestier. Ce Code prévoit la mise de côté de 20 à 80 pour cent de la superficie de chaque propriété rurale pour la préservation de la forêt indigène et sous-tend la Contribution prévue du Brésil déterminée au niveau national de restaurer 12 millions d’hectares de forêts. Cette contribution avait été annoncée à la vingt et unième Réunion de la Conférence des Parties à la Convention-cadre des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques. Même avec toutes les exigences légales, qui incluent également des projets d’atténuation et de compensation, le Brésil constate une croissance des efforts de restauration volontaire des entreprises. Plusieurs entreprises collaborent actuellement au développement des infrastructures naturelles, au paiement des services écosystémiques et aux projets neutres en carbone, en utilisant la restauration comme outil. Les résultats de ces projets sont pratiques et, en plus des impacts environnementaux et sociaux habituels, ils ont des avantages opérationnels clairs pour les entreprises. Des progrès sont en train d’être réalisés dans ce domaine grâce à l’analyse des risques et des dépendances, à la sécurité opérationnelle, aux nouvelles opportunités d’affaires, aux besoins financiers et d’investissement et à un programme socio-environnemental positif. Les récentes sécheresses qui ont frappé le pays ont clairement contribué, par exemple, à l’expansion et au développement de projets d’infrastructure naturelle. Le moment est venu de mobiliser et d’engager les entreprises dans les projets de conservation et de restauration, surtout lorsque les multiples avantages de ce programme sont liés aux changements climatiques et aux problèmes de l’eau.
Negocios y Biodiversidad en Brasil: por qué la restauración privada es un tema importante para el cambio climático y una realidad ambientalmente bajo presión
RESUMEN (1). Brasil es un país megadiverso con bosques que cubren más del 54% de su territorio. Sin embargo, algunos ecosistemas están amenazados, reducidos a cerca del 7% de su área original, como en el caso de la Mata Atlántica. La deforestación ha sido históricamente el principal problema en Brasil para las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GHG) y presión sobre la biodiversidad, con la principal causa siendo los cambios en el uso de la tierra para la expansión de la agricultura y la ganadería. Para abordar estas problemáticas, el Gobierno brasileño hace uso de varias normas jurídicas, como el Código Forestal. El Código establece dejar de lado entre 20-80% del área de cada propiedad rural para la preservación del bosque nativo, sustentando así la Contribución Prevista y Determinada Nacional de Brasil (iNDC) de restaurar 12 millones de hectáreas de bosques, establecido en la vigésima primer reunión de la Conferencia de las Partes en el Marco de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático. Incluso con todos los requisitos legales, que también incluyen proyectos de mitigación y compensación, Brasil está viendo un crecimiento en los esfuerzos de restauración voluntaria por parte de las empresas. Varias empresas están colaborando actualmente en el desarrollo de la infraestructura natural, el pago de los servicios ambientales y proyectos de carbono neutralidad, todos utilizando la restauración como herramienta. Los resultados de estos proyectos son prácticos y, además los impactos ambientales y sociales tradicionales, tienen claros beneficios operacionales para las empresas. Esta agenda está avanzando a través de análisis de riesgo y dependencia, seguridad operativa, nuevas oportunidades de negocio, necesidades financieras e inversiones y una agenda socio ambiental positiva. Las recientes sequías del país han ayudado claramente, por ejemplo, en la expansión y desarrollo de proyectos de infraestructura natural. Es hora de movilizar e involucrar a los negocios en proyectos de conservación y restauración, especialmente cuando los múltiples beneficios de esta agenda están vinculados al cambio climático y a los problemas del agua.
- V. Ramalho is Technical Advisor on Biodiversity and Water, CEBDS (e-mail: andre.ramalho@ cebds.org).
- L. Bonelli is Technical Assistant, CEBDS (e-mail: Raquel.email@example.com).
- Santos is Technical Advisor of CEBDS (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
(1) Translated by Sofia Calvo
In recent years, the private sector has developed a series of improvements in their business focusing on efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite of these efforts, cli- mate change continues to be an ongoing process, a new reality that forces the private sector to adapt constantly to the environmental risks, but it also allows the more engaged companies to adapt and explore new opportunities and it is even becoming a competition advantage.
According to the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change, several regions of Brazil have seen shifts on temperature and rainfall patterns, for instance, the Amazon savannization of the Amazon, heavy rainfall and floods in the south and south-east of the country and drought in north and north-east that affects, for example, hydroelectricity generation.  These environmental risks have become a major concern for business, with 83% of Brazilian companies reporting climate risks and the subsequent incorporation of risk management into their business.  In addition, ecosystem services pro- vided “free of charge” by nature and the bottom line of almost every business are being affected by climate change as well. Since ecosystems are responsible for providing raw material and water needed to produce goods, natural capital losses will affect companies’ growth, development and, most importantly, profits. If no investment is made to conserve and restore the natural capital, impacts on businesses may force them to change composition of products, relocate facilities and face conflicts of interest with local society. Fortunately, several companies are realizing how much they depend on nature and are transforming the established relationship.
The Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), part of the global network of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, is responsible for supporting and connecting the private sector with the best and more advanced concepts, projects, cases and solutions for improving sustainability and the existing relationship between business and nature. CEBDS operates through its working groups, two of which are directly linked to the restoration agenda, the Biodiversity and the Water Working Groups.
This article focuses on the current status of the restoration scenario in Brazil and what is being done by the private sector in his regard. To illustrate restoration and biodiversity conservation efforts, some initiatives that being promoted by large companies in Brazil will be presented.
Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world and holds the major part of the largest forest, the Amazon rain- forest, which includes the greatest amount of biodiversity in the world. Forest cover 54.4% of the country, an area of approximately 463 million hectares, distributed into six biomes – Amazonia, Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest, Pampas and Pantanal,  two of them, Cerrado and Atlantic forest, being considered world hotspots for conservation. [4) The distribution is unequal though, the Atlantic Forest for example has about 7% of its original area. An important data to highlight is that, from the existing native forests cover, 53% are inside private property, stocking about 105±21 mil- lion GtCO2e (billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents).  The importance of engaging business in restoration and conservation is clear.
Currently, the most challenging issue in Brazil, in terms of climate change and environment is deforestation, the result mainly of land use changes for agriculture and cattle ranching. Both the agriculture and livestock sectors are important for Brazilian economy, since they provide the country’s main export commodities. From 1990, the agricultural sector has undergone a boom, with scaled up investments that turned Brazil into the largest food producer and exporter of raw materials in the world.  In order to become a massive producer and exporter, in 2010, grazing lands were being settled over an area of 182.8 million hectares,  and Amazon rainforest deforestation has endured. Despite a 79% decrease in the Amazon deforestation between 2004 and 2015, in 2015 alone, 5,831 square km of forests were lost, with the resultant emission of
282.8 million tCO2e.  For this reason, deforestation and land use are the main drivers of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes so important to emphasize how restoration and conservation can help and coexist with agriculture and cattle ranching.
In fact, Brazil has committed itself, during the twenty- first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, of its intended Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC) of restoring 12 million hectares of forests. Much will need to be done to address this challenge. Firstly, an estimated investment between R$31 million to R$52 million up to 2030 will be needed.  Secondly, it will need to finish mapping the areas that need restoration, in accordance with the Brazilian Forest Code. Then, there will be the need to increase and provide incentives for the development of native forest nurseries to meet the demand for young plants, among other complementary actions.
For years, the Brazilian Government has been advancing the native forest agenda with the intention of protecting and restoring forests for conservation purposes and safeguarding the natural resources needed by the private sector, especially considering that the contribution of the agriculture and livestock sec- tors, the main users of these resources, to the gross national product is over 20%, or approximately 70 billion dollars. 
One of the most important environmental legal norms in Brazil is the Forest Code. With a first version dating from 1965, the norm was revisited and relaunched in 2012. At that time, two mechanisms—the Legal Reserve (LR) and Areas of Permanent Preservation (APPs)—remained with some modifications. Under the former, a landowner should maintain 80% of the property under native vegetation, if the land is in the Amazon biome; otherwise, the percentage falls to at least 20%.  The main aim of the latter is to conserve water resources and thus protect the soil from erosion. The size of area preserved is variable and depends on factors such as the type of ecosystem, the width of the river, the presence of a water spring, etc. As an example, for a river 10 metres wide must have at least 30 metres of forest throughout its length.
If both mechanisms are effectively enforced, they are capable of protecting 193 ± 5 million hectares.  The Forest Code is an important tool to promote private restoration with environmental benefits. The Code also includes the Environmental Reserve Quota (CRA), a market for forest land whereby, should a property have protected native vegetation in excess the amount required by the Code, the landowner can receive compensation by “selling” it to another landowner who has fallen short of the amount required, provided that both properties are located in the same biome.
Therefore, effective implementation is essential. Once that is assured, an area of about 23.4 million hectares will be recovered in areas used for agriculture and grazing, with particular consideration given to areas with degraded and low productive pastures.  The potential of the private sector to contribute to restoration efforts in Brazil depends upon strong enforcement and government support to make sure that agribusinesses are able to adhere to the Code. An example of government support is the development of a plan to help fund this restoration, as in fact is the purpose of the National Native Vegetation Recovery Plan (Planaveg).  Brazil will also need to improve its native forest sector to support this restoration effort.
Finally, the Warsaw Framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) are two initiatives that need to be highlighted. REDD+ was created under the Convention on Climate Change in order to create opportunities for developing countries to follow a sustainable economic pathway. It was instituted in Brazil in 2013, with the intention of mitigating climate change by combating illegal deforestation. Subsequently, its scope was amplified to include restoration and other actions. Likewise, PES is an economic incentive that includes payments beyond carbon and focuses on ecosystems services.  Those two instruments are under discussion by the Brazilian Government in the context of policies and strategies. It is also worth noting that, besides the environment impact, these measures can provide an income supplement, especially for smallholders and native people, thus generating a positive social impact.
It is important to emphasize that despite the existence of a large number of legal obligations that go beyond many of current commitments in the world, Brazilian companies are willing to invest even more in restoration and conservation. They have come to see restoration efforts and climate change mitigation and adaptation as vital to their own business, since they provide operational security, thus decreasing risks and liabilities, and an improved image and also serve as an additional contribution to society.
III. BUSINESS CASE
There follow some examples of conservation and restoration initiatives that have been promoted by the business sector, including those in other major biomes outside the Amazon, such as the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest, where the level of protection is below the 17% required in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 
The Green-Blue Water Coalition, an initiative of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is a collaboration of the private sector and the civil society and local government in order to promote water security to hydric stress basins. The main goal of this Coalition, formed by companies such as AmBev, Coca-Cola, Klabin and having Faber Castell, McDonalds, Unilever, Pepsico and the Bank of America as collaborators, is to reach 12 metropolitan areas, restoring and conserving forests in up to 21 watersheds, capable of supplying water to almost 63 million citizens.  In each watershed, this natural infrastructure initiative will make use of several tools to support restoration, such as creating a local water fund, mapping better areas for restoration, develop a payment for ecosystem services program, and create a local governance, among others. As an example of expected results, TNC studies indicate that the restoration of just 3% of forests could reduce siltation by up to 50% in the water- sheds responsible for 64% of the water supplied to the Greater São Paulo area.
In order to create an improved model for watershed collaborative actions, which could reach even more companies looking to invest in natural infrastructure by associating with CEBDS, a new chapter of the Green-Blue Water Coalition—the Guandu River Basin chapter—is under way. This project is expected to restore 2,250 and preserve 11,750 hectares in five years at a basin that is responsible for 80% of the Rio de Janeiro water supply.
Supported by Brasil Kirin in partnership with SOS Mata Atlântica, the SOS Mata Atlântica Forest Experiment Centre (Centro de Experimentos Florestais SOS Mata Atlântica) aims to produce native trees for forest restoration in the Atlantic Forest. This initiative is currently producing over 750 thousand plants representing 110 native species from this biome per year to be used in restoration areas in the surroundings. In addition, they have a programme of environmental awareness and education for the community.  This centre also hosts two projects, one called ClickÁrvore and the other Forests of the Future, which account for more than 30 million young trees donated or sponsored for the restoration of the Atlantic Forest over the years.
Coca-Cola has also contributed to Sustainable Amazon Foundation – FAS Permanent Fund, which uses to defray the family forest grant at the 16 conservation areas where the forest grant programme currently operates.  It makes use of several mechanisms, including one of the first structured payment-for-ecosystem-services project in Brazil. It has a social development goal of developing a value chain of forest products. The families included the project then became forest guardians.
Syngenta in partnership with Coopavel has created the Água Viva Project, with the intention to revitalize water springs by using methods such as restoring forest cover aside from providing environmental awareness to the local community. In the 12 years since it was launched, the Project has restored 1,000 freshwater springs, generating 160 million litres of good quality water, with benefits reaching 12,000 families from 70 cities across 11 states. 
Legado das Águas (Water Legacy) is a project developed under Votorantim leadership to guarantee hydro availability through the River Juquiá and to protect the local biodiversity. The main goal is to ensure ecological stability in this particular region of the Atlantic Forest, by conserving an area of approximately 31,000 hectares.  There are several ongoing projects at the site, including the construction and operation of a greenhouse to produce young native Atlantic Forest trees to be used for forest restoration at the site and its surroundings. Other example are projects relating to the access and benefit sharing with regard to bio- diversity, all aiming at making this private conservation area self-sustainable.
SPVS, Fauna and Flora International and Souza Cruz launched Partnership for Biodiversity (Parcerias Pela Biodiversidade) in 2012. This initiative aims to protect the local biodiversity and to foster a sustainable family agriculture, which includes biodiversity as a critical asset.  The actions include forest restoration and enrichment and pollinator management aiming to improve and conserve ecosystem services while generating benefits for local agriculture. A pilot phase was carried out on 17 small farms and it is now expanding.
The Strategic Forest Restoration Plan (PERF) was deployed at one of the biggest agrarian region, the Alto Teles Pires in Mato Grosso. This Plan, developed by The Nature Conservancy, has as its main actions to map degraded areas, identify stakeholder initiatives, and structures already developed at the region to organize productive chains for restoration, including seed production, plant nursery and workforce, as well as create restoration schedules and priorities. This initiative is supported by Syngenta, Fiagril, Amaggi, among others. 
Conservation International in partnership with Monsanto has been developing a project based on the concept of sustainable agricultural landscape. It has been involved in the protection of natural capital, sustainable food production and territorial governance. This initiative takes into account the vital role played by the agricultural sector, thus looking to integrate between agriculture and the protection of environmental services. 
Through its Foundation, the Boticário Group has two very interesting initiatives that should be mentioned: one, called Araucária+, that aims to conserve a highly threatened ecosystem that has as its main species a tree called Araucaria. To help protect the Araucaria forest, they are developing ways for the local small holders to explore products derived from the forest in a sustainable way. The second is a payment for ecosystem services and conservation initiative that became a model for several others named Oasis. In ten years of operation, Oasis engaged 434 landowners, and protected an area of 3,500 hectares. 
Natura is also giving an example of a commitment that can benefit forest conservation and/or restoration that is the Programa Carbono Neutro (Carbon Neutrality Programme). Through this commitment, Natura quantifies all its greenhouse-gas emissions, including in its value chain, an then it offsets those emissions by buying carbon credits from forest restoration projects in degraded lands, and for switching from oil-based fuels to renewables and those associated with waste treatment. 
One thing that is important to say about all these projects is how they relate conservation and/or restoration with positive impacts to not only nature and society but also a clear benefit for the companies. And, when results are clear, companies are willing to invest.
- CURRENT AND FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
The business perception of nature has been changing in the past few years, both globally and in Brazil, and not only motivated by legal requirements. As an institution that has being working with more than 60 of the major companies in Brazil in the field of sustainability, CEBDS cannot help but notice the advances made by companies in the country in terms of awareness, investments, and commitments.
These advances are encouraged by several factors such as the creation and adoption of sustainability indexes, as is the case of Dow Jones Sustainability Index; transparency and reporting of social and environmental impacts, initiatives and corporate responsibility actions, those compiled in documents following standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative. Advances are also made as a result of a better understanding of natural capital risks, dependencies and opportunities, supported by ever evolving tools such as the recently launched Natural Capital Protocol.  The financial sector is also getting involved into advancing the environmental and climate agenda by creating risk methodologies and requirements for companies seeking investment capital.
The Brazilian financial sector engagement in the natural capital agenda is duly noticed when they commend studies on natural capital risks for the main business sectors in the country, such as the Natural Capital Risk Exposure of the Financial Sector in Brazil, or when they calculate the financial impact of recent droughts that affected both the population and business production in the southeastern region of Brazil, including major industrial areas such as São Paulo.  There is also a very positive discussion going on in Brazil that involves the regulation and issuance of Green Bonds. The Bank Federation of Brazil (FEBRABAN) and CEBDS are working together on a guide for green bonds issuance. This is a helpful tool to support company’s climate adaptation and environmental conservation/restoration investments.
Several actions complementary to the legal requirements on restoration have been in place in the country, all contributing to protecting and restoring the ecosystems. Voluntary commitments are helping changing the way we relate to nature. Walmart and Carrefour, for example, have made a commitment not to buy cattle meat from deforested areas, leading to the creation of a tracking process by its suppliers. Commitments such as this force the hand of producers and distributors into legalizing farms, checking and promoting changes in their value chain, in order to avoid the risk of suffering economic losses.
Another important commitment that is producing a great impact on Brazilian landscape is the Soy Moratorium, a zero de forestation voluntary commitment. Since its adoption by several major producers, the deforestation rates declined by 86% in the states where it has influence. At the same time and in the same areas, the soy production rose 200% without land expansion,  proving that it is possible to increase production while protecting the ecosystems.
Recently Brazil debated, revisited and issued its new biodiversity access and benefit sharing legal norm and it is being pressured by society to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. In a megadiverse country, exploring biodiversity can be a very effective way to stimulate conservation and even increase restoration investments. A recent research from the National Industry Confederation (CNI) found interesting results as to company investments in biodiversity. Results from an interview with 120 chief executive officers (CEOs) and executives showed that for 86.7% of them the importance of biodiversity has increased to the company, and that more than half (52.2%) invested in products derived from biodiversity use. In addition, 78.3% invest in actions and processes for exploring biodiversity sustainably, and half of them invest in voluntary conservation projects, with most of them being developed by the largest companies. 
As indicated in the business-case section above, natural infrastructure is gaining strength in the country. Many practical examples are being developed and partnerships with local governments being made, which is of great significance, given that its basis is forest restoration. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) (2016), two elements can help pushing this agenda even further: the first is a clear under- standing of the economic benefits arising from these projects; and the second is the sharing of knowledge related to managing natural-infrastructure projects to which we can add building capacity. As for the economic benefits, the recent water crisis affected great industrial regions in Brazil producing enough aware- ness to help companies start considering natural infra- structure as a viable preventive solution to help keep water security levels at a safe margin.
Opportunities are clearly arising in the country, projects and initiatives that for years were considered mostly as philanthropic, now are starting to be considered strategic. As the perception of risks and dependencies of ecosystem services become clearer, the trend is to see an increase in these projects.
When we go back to Rio 1992 and Rio +20 conferences, we can see how Brazil evolved in its environmental agenda. Now, the country has a greater awareness in keeping with the importance of biodiversity. There is a noticeable increase in the number of social and environmental projects and initiatives. We see many voluntary commitments being made despite all the demanding legal requirements. All these combined with an international agenda such as Paris Agreement on Climate and the Sustainable Development Goals, contribute to a better outlook for nature, and thus for all of us.
The level of involvement from society and business in the conservation of our natural resources is expanding. Consumers increasingly check how “green” a company or its products are; sustainability has become an index that investors look into it. The business sector, through the concept of natural capital, is now understanding how investing in conserving/restoring nature adds to its productivity and income.
It is in this context that governments and nongovernmental organizations should support and collaborate to engage business to an even greater extent in the biodiversity agenda. The scenario now, even in the middle of an economic crisis, is more favorable than ever: we have the attention of the business sec- tor and it has the ability to take decisions and invest in and promote changes much more quickly than any group. Our motivation, and that of our partners, is to help in promoting the sustainability agenda and ever increasing the engagement of companies.
We are delighted by the assistance provided by our colleagues throughout the process of preparing this article. Their critical comments helped us to enrich the debate mentioned in this paper. We also like to thank the companies and institutions (AmBev, Brasil Kirin, Coca-Cola, Grupo Boticário, Natura, Souza Cruz, Syngenta, Monsanto and Votorantim) for the business cases they provided and for standing in the vanguard of sustainability.
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