Date: 23 March 2021
Chapter Zero Brazil
- Professor Carlos Nobre – Earth System Scientist and Climatologist
- Roberto Silva Waack – Visiting Fellow, Chatham House
- Sandra Guerra – Independent Board Member, Vale
- Helle Bank Jorgensen – CEO, Competent Boards
Marina Grossi – President, Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development
“We are witnessing a global awakening,” Helle Bank Jorgensen told the audience at the Chapter Zero Brazil panel discussion on day three of the CGI Global Summit. “We see that investors are voting with their money. They are buying more and more sustainable investments.”
Since 2015, the Paris Agreement has accelerated the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil has committed to the ambitious goal of reducing emissions by 37% by 2025 and by 43% by 2030, but has moved away from that goal in recent years, due to deforestation in the Amazon.
In this context, companies have a responsibility to assist in environmental preservation and it’s up to the administrative boards to detect the risks and identify the numerous opportunities – as Jorgensen laid out – arising from this process.
While most other countries’ carbon footprints come from burning fossil fuels, Brazil’s are rooted in deforestation and agriculture. The main challenge, therefore, is to end deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado in this decade and start an immense forest regeneration project.
In this session, the panel argued that national and global markets play an important role in pushing for protective agriculture to take over in these areas, increasing productivity and stopping the continuous expansion of commodity boundaries. It’s possible to preserve and produce.
The effort to fight climate change is being accelerated beyond government decisions. Investors are promoting transitioning to increasingly sustainable investments, consumers demand environmentally friendly products, and suppliers are being more selective about who they will supply their inputs and products to, emphasising the industry’s need to adapt and reinvent, treating sustainability as a priority strategy, and identifying opportunities emerging from the global movement.
Companies – and society in general – need to be prepared for more disruptions that directly and indirectly involve environmental issues. Boards are vaguely aware of the risks, but the panel argued that they need to push for companies to be more accountable when it comes to emissions – something the public is pushing for. Stakeholders are key players in addressing, reducing, mitigating or compensating for the risks, and so, boards must ensure that they’re able to communicate effectively with stakeholders and society at large.