Amazoniar discusses the role of the financial sector in sustainability

IPAM, Sara R. Leal Pereira in 08/01/2021

With the subject “Sustainable Amazon: the role of international trade and investors”, the third episode of the Amazoniar series aired last Thursday (7). The project is an IPAM ‘s (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) initiative with the support of the OCAA (Amazon Observatory on Trade and Environment) and exists to open a channel of dialog between Brazil and Europe that discusses the Amazon and gives visibility to the impacts felt by the forest.

Founder and CEO of Brokering Solidarity, the Dutch Marco van der Ree, and the portfolio manager of Fama Investimentos, Fabio Alperowitch, were the guests of this round, moderated by the senior researcher at IPAM, Paulo Moutinho.

Wasted opportunities

In the last 25 years, the Amazon has lost approximately 10 times the size of the Netherlands to deforestation. According to Van der Ree, this indicates that, at the same time that the country wasted the possibility of taking advantage of the wealth existing in these areas, it compromised the quality of life on the planet and lost opportunities to undertake and guarantee high financial returns.

“I think it is absurd that Brazil, until that moment, does not have an economic view on the value of carbon”, he said. “The Amazon stocks between 80 and 120 tons of CO2. Considering the European carbon certification market, this can reach up to 20 trillion reais a year”, said van der Ree.

The rate of deforestation in the Amazon region in 2020 was the highest since 2008. More than 50% of this loss – much of which is a consequence of land grabbing – has reached public forests, that is, the heritage of Brazilians. The situation has damaged the country’s image not only among activists and politicians, but also among businessmen and investors in the financial sector, warned researcher Paulo Moutinho.

Consumers around the world are more aware of the value of each stage of the production chain and the trend is that consumption will be increasingly impacted by environmental and social responsibility charges. “Millennial consumers, consumers of the future, do not want products linked to deforestation,” said van der Ree. “”Many companies are realizing that they need to change their perspective,”” he added.

These changes favor the dialogue between the financial market and civil society – which, until recently, “were two worlds apart”, as defined by Fabio Alperowitch, from Fama Investimentos. “The year 2020, with all the challenges it brought us, created several bridges, not only in an international perspective but also in a national one. When it comes to the Brazilian context, the Amazon and the environment have become the subject of investors”, he said.

Alperowitch highlighted the need to go beyond discourse, remembering the importance of transparent communication with partners and consumers. “The excess of greenwashing has brought more regulation. When people really need to show the impact, it starts to happen and the financial market starts to look at sustainability in a different way ”, he stressed.

The full broadcast of the seminar is available here.

Also watch previous episodes on the IPAM YouTube channel. Full list here.

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