SAO PAULO, March 29, 2011- Finding solutions to challenges involving economic, social and environmental sustainability through business initiatives and raising awareness of the public sector – this was the objective of the 2nd World Forum on Sustainability, which from March 24th to 26th brought together 800 business leaders, government officials, politicians and environmentalists in Manaus, Brazil. The event was produced by Seminars, a Brazilian company that organizes business seminars, and promoted by LIDE (Brazil’s Business Leadership Group), with 750 member companies, representing 46% of Brazil’s private GDP.
The Forum was attended by former U.S. President, Bill Clinton; former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; film director James Cameron; president of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson; along with a diverse group of specialists in the field.
Schwarzenegger proposed a dynamic approach, affirming that economic growth and environmentalism can go hand in hand, and that it is necessary to make the concept of sustainability more attractive to everyone. Along with James Cameron, Schwarzenegger praised Brazil for its progress in the adoption of renewable energy sources. Cameron emphasized the importance of Brazil in environmental solutions. “Economic development and preservation are bound together. One depends on the other.”
The director of Sustainability and Urban Regeneration for the 2012 London Olympics, Dan Epstein, spoke of his experience with the planning of the 2012 Olympic Games and said that he is willing to help Brazil with preparations for the 2016 Olympics.
Virgin Group president Richard Branson, for his part, emphasized the challenge of fighting global warming while working in an industry as polluting as civil aviation. “We must invest in research on fuels that pollute less, like Brazilian ethanol.”
Adam Werbach cited examples of innovations implemented by companies. According to Werbach, sustainable companies will have better performance in coming years. This was also the opinion of Paul Hawken, who said that we must invest in companies that help people.
On the last day, former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, ascribed a leadership role to Brazil in matters related to the environment. For Clinton, Brazil has positive characteristics that justify this leadership, such as the world’s largest tropical forest and the production of ethanol, which gives the country security and world independence. “You produce more ethanol than any other place in the world except the United States, but Brazil is more efficient,” he concluded.