Five Minutes with… Marcello Brito

Marcello Brito
Marcello Brito is a crucial partner of the World BioEconomy Forum as a member of the Advisory Board, as well as being a major partner in the organization of the event. With more than 25 years of experience in the oils and fats industry, Marcello Brito currently serves as President of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG), Board Member of the Brazilian Palm Oil Association (ABRAPALMA), member of the executive board of the Brazilian Organic and Sustainable Association (Organis) as well as the CEO of Agropalma group, the leading palm oil producer in Latin America. He has been working in environmental, social, and economic developments since 1997, always bringing together the private sector, NGOs, and governments.

As Brazil is a major national entity – with agriculture and forest resources at its centre – can you tell us the status of the circular bioeconomy in the country, and how much progress is being made?

The bioeconomy, in its most significant essence, based on the highest science and technology, is still at the very early stages in a developing country like Brazil. Agribusiness, services, and industry have shown tremendous success in the south, southeast, and central-western part of Brazil, where the top and latest technology is applied.  Our challenge is how to promote an efficient and accessible bioeconomy in the Amazon region. A place as large as 41% of the total European area, land of the highest biodiversity in the world, home of plants, fungus, and many other still unknown species, that has proven to be a new biotechnology paradise. However, to bring all this to light, we need to make improvements, for instance get digital connections and improve logistics. Nowadays, most of the area’s primary challenges are making roads and bringing in electricity. The Amazon forest is a place to be discovered by visionary bioeconomist investors.

COVID-19 has obviously had a major impact around the world, including impacting the circular bioeconomy, from your standpoint, what effects had the virus had? Has there been any extra issues raised that were not apparent before the pandemic?

This pandemic has affected the whole world, but more heavily developing countries. In Brazil, one of the most impoverished areas is the Amazon region. During the pandemic sustainable developments took time off, bet the same could not be said of the land grabbing of public lands, burning, and illegal deforestation, which has broken records again. So, our urgency in the application of R&D and investments aimed at the circular bioeconomy in the region need to gain maximum speed. Holding the the World BioEconomy Forum in the Amazion region is a unique opportunity to show the world the tremendous bioeconomic potential of Brazil and its forests.

As an advisory Board Member of the World Bioeconomy Forum, what is your view on the importance the circular bioeconomy as a whole, and from a global standpoint?

Our planet, in economic terms, is almost bankrupt. We will not be able to build the next 100 years the way we did in the last century. Those who know the benefits of a healthy and comfortable life do not want to give up this asset. The business-as-usual model will not sustain the planet, so we will have to rebuild our production technologies in the farms, industries, and consumption. As we see today, losing 30% of the food produced in the world at some stage between the countryside and our homes must be seen as unacceptable,  a crime against humanity. The best use of waste, the effective recycling of everything in our daily lives, the development of new compounds, inputs, and processes, combined with a new consumption behavior, will make our future a field of disruptions. More than an optimist, I am a reformer. Reforming our mental concepts will lead us to define our new paradigms.

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