Sustainable Industry

There’s no turning back in the fight against climate change, says the President of Brazil’s National Industry Confederation

During an interview for the Industry News Agency at COP26, Robson Braga de Andrade also expressed hope that the rules for implementing the global carbon market will be agreed upon during the Conference

The President of Brazil’s National Industry Confederation (CNI), Robson Braga de Andrade, arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, for the second week of negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) – and expressed hope that it will be a decisive one, and that the rules for implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which establishes the global carbon market, will be agreed upon.

Mr. Andrade highlighted, however, that – for developing countries such as Brazil to be able to meet their emission reduction targets – developed countries must also meet the commitment made within the Paris Agreement: to allocate US$ 100 billion, annually, to financing initiatives such as reducing deforestation.

“Resources are essential for investing in emission reduction and in projects for adaptation to climate change,” Mr. Andrade said to the Industry News Agency. Read the whole interview below:

What do you expect from the negotiations at COP26?

I hope – as does the Brazilian industry as a whole – that the rules for implementing the global carbon market may be agreed upon, as well as those concerning resources that are to be allocated to projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change in developing countries. I am aware that these negotiations are complex, but strong political will from all countries is essential to conclude these agreements.

Regardless of the COP26 outcomes, however, there’s no turning back in the fight against climate change; there is no other choice. I believe that all countries’ commitment to sustainability will be increasingly intense. The climate agenda is urgent, and we are all already feeling the effects of climate change on our lives and on business. Extreme events such as drought and floods are increasingly intense and frequent, even in Brazil. Therefore, it’s essential to conclude this whole package at COP26, of rules for this market and resources, so that it will bring effective results over the coming years.

Certain segments of society are critical about requesting resources for the environmental agenda. What is your opinion on this?

Resources are crucial to the feasibility of projects – especially those focused on reducing deforestation – in developing countries. They are essential to the sustainability of this agenda, and to its capacity to reduce inequalities among countries. As a matter of fact, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is established within the Paris Agreement; it states that efforts for reduction must involve all countries, but in such a way that developed countries offer a financial contribution so that developing countries are able to meet their emission reduction commitments. We need to ensure that this truly happens.

How do you assess the increase in Brazil’s emission reduction targets, as announced at COP26?

It’s a positive outcome, because – if Brazil is able to increase its efforts to reduce emissions – it must do so and negotiate so that other countries can also follow, especially developed ones.

Is the Brazilian industry truly committed to the climate agenda?

Absolutely. The Brazilian industry sees the climate agenda as a great opportunity for the country. This is why our industry is attending COP26: to show that it has done its homework concerning the sustainability agenda, and to attract investments. Brazil is one of the world leaders in many crucial aspects of sustainability, such as the high share of renewables within the energy matrix (48%), with a strong presence of biofuels and great potential in the green hydrogen sector, and enormous potential for the sustainable use of its forests.

Reducing emissions and zeroing the carbon balance has become a priority for several sectors. Many Brazilian companies have already committed to zeroing their net emissions by 2050. This is a great challenge, but we are all imbued with the spirit of cooperation and hard work towards sustainability and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

How has the industrial sector been working towards environmental conservation?

The Brazilian industry has been committed to the environmental agenda for a long time, and has been working towards becoming a reference in the efficient use of natural resources as well as in taking advantage of opportunities associated with a low-carbon economy. Sustainability is in our DNA, both in the quest for efficiency and in saving resources to be more competitive and to meet the demands of the international market. The world demands environmental responsibility from Brazil, and the private sector is interested in complying with international agreements.

Doesn’t the economic agenda conflict with the interests of environmental conservation?

We can no longer look at sustainability from a fragmented perspective – as if the economy, society and the environment have different interests. We must realize that these three aspects complement each other, and converge. One feeds the other.

Through investments in sustainable businesses and in agendas such as bioeconomy, for example, it is possible to increase the value of the standing forest, and to lead society itself to preserve the environment by effectively realizing that environmental conservation generates wealth, employment and income for its communities.

What does Brazil need to further advance its sustainability agenda and truly convert its potential into wealth for its population?

The environmental agenda must be part of a state strategy; it must go beyond government plans and be part of a national, social and economic development proposal. If not, there will only be timid advances, and the competitiveness of companies – especially smaller ones – will be affected. In a guidebook that presents the main funders of projects that reduce the effects of climate change, CNI reports that, over recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean have received only 4.5% of these resources – and Brazil an even smaller share –, while Asia was granted 38%. We urgently need a long-term strategy, and to attract more resources from these funds.