The Zero Carbon Connection : 1st Latin-American Trade Fair For The Climate, in São Paulo, brought together over 600 people during the two days of the event (June 11 and 12). It was focused on solutions that seek to transform the mental models of business and politicians to reverse climate change and, at the same time, generate value and prosperity. The fair was a joint initiative of Mundo Que Queremos [the World We Want], Carbon Disclosure Projet (CDP) , and WWF Brazil .

The companies represented at the Zero Carbon Connection identified that working in favor of the climate signifies business opportunities totaling US$ 42 billion. Together, they have already invested US$ 5 billion in favor of the climate and, consequently, have avoided the emission of 921 million tons of carbon.

There were two days of programming with presentations, panels, and business rounds, held at the Maksoud Plaza in São Paulo, during World Environment Week. Participants included companies, governments, investors, opinion leaders, and civil society representatives from Brazil and other countries, such as Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Canada.

Business Rounds

The business rounds of the fair were organized in partnership with Climate Ventures, an innovation platform that supports ideas and companies that act on behalf of the climate. Meetings were scheduled, at pre-defined times, to place start-ups, which offer services of sustainability, face-to face with companies and governments that are interested in learning about projects and doing business.

Dany Silvio Amaral, from the Environment Department of the City Hall of Belo Horizonte, was one of the representatives from the public sector who found the opportunity at the fair to learn about projects with a positive environmental impact. He sought any initiative that could help Belo Horizonte resolve the problem with the destination of its solid waste and he found an application developed by the start-up Polen, which could be the solution to the bottleneck.

“It was interesting how the fair met the needs that we perceived in the municipality. We have a very serious problem of reverse logistics for glass products in Belo Horizonte. Polen has this application that makes the connection between the companies that produce the glass bottles and the recycling cooperatives, which helps in this process of logistics. What for us appeared to be problem without a solution, is now resolved. It’s a new path, a perspective for us to develop public policies in our municipality and to reduce these impacts,” he explained.
Polen is a start-up from Rio de Janeiro that, through its own platform, connects companies that generate waste with companies that use this waste as raw material. Consequently, it transforms the destination cost into revenue and the waste into sustainable and low cost raw material.

For the mayor of Independencia, in the metropolitan region of Santiago (Chile), Gonzalo Durán, as well as the opportunity to learn about projects, the Zero Carbon Connection was also important because it allowed him to meet with leaders from other Latin-American cities to exchange experiences. “It’s very good that there are areas of cooperation like this. The environment of reflection, business, and exchange between cities represents an excellent opportunity to confront the climate change challenges,” he said.

Independencia highlighted its operation against climate challenges to the fair. According to the mayor, the municipality recently bought a fleet of electric vehicles. Once operational, the city will be the first in Chile to have a 100% electric fleet.


The trade fair included a special program of presentations about climate change. During the opening, the Canadian consultant and writer, Lorraine Smith, made a motivational speech on the so-called “new economy.” This takes into account climate factors, caused by the carbon emissions in the atmosphere, and the decision-making that aims at the economic and social development of countries. She argued that not only should nations stop promoting deforestation, but they should also act together to reverse the negative impacts that have already been caused.

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For Lorraine, the effects resulting from an economic development model that disregards actions to preserve the environment are worrying. Over 60% of global biodiversity has already been lost because of this model. The Canadian consultant stated that even the term used to describe climate should change from next year. In 1990, the world spoke of the “greenhouse effect” and, in 2000, surfaced the expression “global warming.” In 2019, the term used was “climate change.” However, she believes that, from 2020, due to the urgent need to implement actions, it will be more correct to say “climate emergency.”

The Canadian Ambassador to Brazil, Riccardo Savone, also participated in the first day of the fair and presented data from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. This indicates that, by 2030, the clean economy should generate US$ 26 trillion and will produce about 65 million jobs.

He recalled that, in June, the Government of Canada announced that it will ban single-use plastic by 2021. For Savone, actions like this make a difference. He also argued that citizens, companies, and governments are partners and have to work together to resolve the urgent climate problems.

“We always talk about the future, what will happen in 10 years, in 20 years, but in fact, as we have seen here today, the challenges are arriving now. We do not have any more time to think about what to do; we have the solutions and we need to take action. It is a global urgency. The time for action is now,” he emphasized.

Zero Carbon was also the stage for significant debates about the climate. In the panel “Good climate for business,” technological ideas were presented that are already being used in the world. Among the initiatives is the use of photovoltaic solar panels in civil construction by MRV, which is the largest construction company in Latin America. According to the representative from the company, Thais Morais, over 1 million kilowatts have been saved, since 2017, by using (renewable) solar energy in their projects. Besides the environment, 4,500 families have also benefited. The objective is that 100% of the company projects will have the applied technology by 2022.

In the panel “Carbon, an Indicator of Productivity,” the discussions were about trends and opportunities in the transition to a new economy, in which carbon becomes an increasingly decisive indicator of performance for organizations, states, cities, and countries.

The director of the Instituto Escolhas, Sérgio Leitão, one of the panelists, spoke about how Brazil still behaves timidly when faced with the opportunity of implementing actions where carbon is the protagonist, in the transition to a new economy, which takes into account the urgent climate changes. “There is no noise you can make to wake up somebody who is pretending to be asleep,” he said.

The panel “Private investment in a green infrastructure” dealt with investments from the private sector in a green and resilient infrastructure in the cities, the main obstacles to be overcome, and the opportunities in Latin America. Maria Eugênia Buosi, a consultant from Resultante, reported that 26% of investments made in the world already have, in some form, the filter for environmental issues. For her, the fact that 1/4 of the financial world is already focused on environmental impact investment requires a joint effort by companies and governments to make projects viable on behalf of the environment.

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