International business dialogue in Sao Paulo launches innovative programs for sustainable land use and forest management

WBCSD partners with the world's leading businesses to launch two distinct programs on climate smart agriculture and land use & forest management from Brazil.

  • Both programs are part of WBCSD's Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), which is testing high-impact plans to develop and deploy low-carbon technologies at a series of international dialogues in the lead-up to COP21 in Paris.
  • Companies are collaborating through the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), in partnership with the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, to drive action and scale-up the deployment of technologies in sustainable land and forest management.
  • Solutions focus on, among other things, eliminating deforestation and illegal exploration of forests in Brazil, restoring and recovering degraded areas through forest plantations, land-use planning, social protection of communities as well as expanding the production of food, forest products and bioenergy in a competitive and sustainable manner whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon stocks across all sectors of the Brazilian economy.

Sao Paulo, October 7 2015 - Today, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in partnership with its Brazilian Global Network partner CEBDS, launched two innovative climate smart agriculture and land use & forest management programs in Brazil as part of a series of national dialogues taking place across the world from September to November within the context of its Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi).

The dialogue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, brings together leading business figures and Brazilian policymakers to drive low carbon technology solutions forward ahead of COP21, the UN's global climate negotiations in Paris this December.

Brazil is the world’s largest emitter of land-use change-related gases. This makes a concerted cross-sectoral, public/private effort by Brazilian businesses a critical factor in ensuring meaningful green-house gas emissions reductions.

Even though Brazil is a major industrial powerhouse, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation, driven by the expansion of agriculture. Over 20% of more than 1.5 million square miles of rainforest are estimated to have been cleared to date. Much of the land has been used to graze cattle and grow soybean, Brazil’s two largest exports.

“In the absence of a collaborative effort from all sectors in the Brazilian economy, there can be no meaningful reduction in land-use greenhouse gas emissions. Together, the Climate Smart Agriculture program partners are working on commitments to be reached by 2030 and 2050, respectively, which will allow agriculture mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and improve harvests and incomes for farmers”, said Peter Bakker, President and Chief Executive Officer, WBCSD.

These commitments are significant as agriculture and other land use constitute about 25 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. These originate mainly from deforestation and forest degradation as well as emissions from livestock, soil and nutrient management. Deforestation and forest degradation in the Amazon is estimated to have emitted 200 million tonnes into the atmosphere per year.

"Brazil will be responsible for a significant part of the increase in food production needed in the world by mid-century. For this to happen in a sustainable way, it is essential to join forces between government, civil society and businesses. Together, these actors can achieve the objectives of a competitive agriculture-based economy leading to a neutral model of development in carbon emissions, generating income and social inclusion”, explained Marina Grossi, President, CEBDS.

One example is Monsanto’s partnership with Conservation International (CI) in Brazil to promote a larger effort to prevent illegal deforestation, conserve agriculture resources, and promote biodiversity. Working with farmers, seed gatherers and local government, CI and Monsanto have restored more than 10,000 hectares of native forest, critical to water sources.

Hugh Grant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Monsanto Company, said: “The challenges associated with climate change are big and that’s why we are collaborating with WBCSD and other partners to focus on a variety of approaches to climate smart agriculture and ongoing forest preservation and restoration. As agriculture thrives in Brazil, a balance must be struck between healthy farms, protection of biodiversity and forest preservation. Together, the global food, agriculture and NGO communities can be leaders in adapting to climate change and mitigating its causes. While climate change poses threats to agricultural productivity, continued innovation and use of appropriate farming techniques can help both mitigate the effects of climate change and enable farmers to adapt to the changing conditions.”

LCTPi has identified solutions with the greatest global impact and Climate Smart Agriculture is one of them. To reach the goal of staying below 2 degrees C of warming, agricultural production systems need to be transformed rapidly to achieve greater productivity, be more resource efficient, and become resilient to risks, shocks and long-term climate variability whilst reducing emissions.

With the launch of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, of which WBCSD members Fibria, Suzano, Monsanto and CEBDS are signatories, Brazil is working to proactively develop a low-carbon economy. As a multi-sectoral initiative that advocates a concrete set of actions to address climate change, the Brazilian Coalition supports the LCTPi by contextualizing global ambitions on the ground in Brazil. Such actions comprise a wide array of solutions, grouped into 3 areas: implementation of the Forest Code; mechanisms for pricing carbon and ecosystem services; and fight deforestation, increase forest stocks and promote low-carbon agriculture.

Mr. Jose Penido, Chairman, Fibria, said: “The Brazilian Coalition on Forests, Climate and Agriculture brings together over 100 organizations committed to fostering the transition to the low carbon economy as well as to sustainable land use by combatting deforestation and forest degradation and increasing forest carbon stocks. Within the framework of the Coalition’s landmark report, the land use and forests programs will explore partnership opportunities to demonstrate how the solutions developed in Brazil can be applied in other countries facing similar land use challenges.”

Walter Schalka, Chief Executive Officer, Suzano, said: “Our work to develop sustainable forest management practices through the integration of planted forests into landscape approaches is a model for increasing forest stocks and sustainable land use. The collaborative approach of the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative will ensure we disseminate and scale up these best practices.”

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