COP-30 and the bioeconomy in Amazonia

06 September, 2023
By Milton Steagall

The 30th UN Climate Change Conference (COP-30) is scheduled for November 2025 in Belém, Pará. Bringing together the main global authorities and experts on the subject in the Brazilian Amazon is an important step for the world to really get to know the forest, its riches, and above all, to listen to its people.

Understanding the reality of the people who live in the world's largest rainforest is essential if we are to move forward with feasible goals that take into account the people who live there. It is currently estimated that this population is around 29 million.

For the results to come to fruition, Brazil needs to consolidate its national bioeconomy strategy, an industrial production model based on the use of biological resources and offering solutions for the sustainability of production systems, with the aim of replacing fossil and non-renewable resources.

A study carried out by the Brazilian Bioinnovation Association (ABBI), in partnership with four Brazilian research institutions, shows that the full implementation of the bioeconomy in the country could generate revenues of US$ 284 billion a year, an excellent business, which combines preserving the environment, improving people's quality of life and economic development.

Decarbonizing the Amazon rainforest through more sustainable products and services is a goal that must be put into practice as soon as possible.

Creating products and services with renewable inputs that replace petrochemical products, as well as generating renewable energy for isolated communities in the Amazon region, is an important step towards local development, generating jobs and income for Amazonians.

The reforestation of deforested areas combined with the use of local labor to produce its benefits is an equation that will help keep the forest standing. No new hectares of land need to be cleared, as long as projects involving the local population are put into practice, such as the sustainable cultivation of oil palm.

From palm oil it is possible to talk about the bioeconomy within the electricity, chemical and biofuel sectors, as well as agribusiness. Our country has the potential to be a global leader in palm oil production. I often say that we have a veritable "green pre-salt" in our country that has yet to be explored.

A true "green pre-salt" because each hectare cultivated with palm is capable of generating approximately 8,000 liters of oil. As Brazil has 31 million hectares authorized by law to be recovered with palm cultivation, it is possible to say that the country has the potential to produce 240 billion liters of palm oil per year, a figure 30% higher than the volume of oil extracted by Petrobras from the pre-salt in 2022, which was around 175 billion liters.

All of this is in accordance with the Oil Palm Agroecological Zoning, which is among the strictest and most stringent legislation for oil palm cultivation in the world and only allows the species to be planted in areas that were previously deforested by December 2007. Not to mention that it contains guidelines for protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity and the rational use of natural resources, as well as respecting the social function of property.

Investment in innovation can also be seen as a major contribution to the forest, as it can provide renewable raw materials for the development of new biofuels and the generation of renewable energy for isolated communities in the Amazon region. Another fundamental point is that sustainable development also generates employment and, consequently, income for the population of these regions. We will only combat deforestation and forest destruction if we create options for the population to live a dignified life.

The forest needs to stop being looked down on. The northern region of Brazil needs to be shown to the world more and more. The real Brazil and not the one imagined by some from afar. This is a path that has no turning back. Exploiting the forest sustainably is the key to preserving it for future generations.

For 15 years, we at Grupo BBF (Brasil BioFuels) have believed in this premise, which is why we have combined sustainable development, recovery of degraded areas and job creation to help decarbonize the Brazilian economy.

*Milton Steagall is CEO of Grupo BBF (Brasil BioFuels)

icon of Milton Steagall CEO - Grupo BBF
Milton Steagall
CEO of Grupo BBF