Our review of Sustainable Brands – Rio 2015

 The 3rd edition of Sustainable Brands in Brazil took place on August 25, 26 and 27 in Rio de Janeiro. Since 2006, Sustainable Brands aims to inspire, engage and bring together business leaders and innovative brands with sustainable appeal. In 2016, 12 conferences are expected around the world.

This Brazilian edition had as its theme the motto HOW NOW – how innovation in sustainability is transforming business now – featuring plenary sessions and workshops by organizations which are changing their attitudes in search of a prosperous future in the short and long run.

5 large plenaries were the wire-conductor of the event:

– how to reorient business?

– how to innovate in sustainability?

– how to redesign production and markets?

– how brands can engage people?

– how to connect with the needs of the society?

In addition to the plenary sessions, various workshops formats occurred during the three-day event in which organisations presented the challenges currently experienced: the exchange of experiences among participants generally portrayed the complementary attitudes that organisations could take when facing new issues, result of their (negative) impacts or imposed by a new economic, political, social and / or environmental context.


Here is what really caught our attention:

How to reorient business?

The initial plenary featured Koann Srzyniarz noting that the expansion os Sustainable Brands is above all a result of consumer behavior change.

Despite consumer behavior fact, André Palhano said that the average Brazilian does not have clear “sustainable values”. The idea, construction and development of Virada Sustentável came from a (simple) conclusion: the apporach towards educational actions are always negative, like “don’t do this”, “pay more attention to that”. The great principle of this movement is to promote sustainability in a positive way, it can be with art installations for example but party and happiness should be part of it!

The heterogeneous character of the event can be evidenced by companies based on collaborative economy and not having a protagonist organisation on this movement. Result: in 2014, more than 900,000 people attended the 4-day event in São Paulo. If you want more info, click here hereSBRiolounge

Tânia Braga, Manager of Sustainability, Accessibility and Legacy of Rio 2016 Committee explaining the challenges of dealing with the largest global temporary logistics (excluding wars) taking into account the Sustainability.

Especially how the Committe uses the Purchase Department to assure the origin of the products and services bought, splitting it on “visibles” and “invisibles”. A “visible” example is the temporary headquarter for the Committee in which it was required 70%-light saving and that 80% of the headquarter’s materials could be reused. Within “invisible”, considering only providers that attended the needs concerning specific products or services: sustainable fish, certified wood etc.

Obviously, this process required the development of very specific criteria for each product. Extensives workshops and trainings were performed to and with the Purchase Department, considering the scale of resources for the Olympic Games.

Alejandro Litovski, from Earth Security Index, held a speech warning that is equally important to take into account the area around the certified ones. An example of this concern is the growth of systemic risks around the Wood Certified areas in Africa, such as intentional fire result of populational growth.

Litovski brought also the Brazilian dilemma: vulnerability of energy matrix X energy security.

Local practices for implementing global strategy: Maya Colombani from L’Oréal shared how a multidisciplinary without hierarchy sustainability committee helps with the development of products using typical regional raw material such as babaçu, pracaxi and murumuru.


How to innovate in sustainability?

Contrasting the developments between a hospital and a school in the last 100 years  using photos, Claudio Sassaki founder of Geekie, showed how Big Data technology can contribute in education.

Basically, the concept of education for most schools students majoring in ‘batches’, with all students in the same room and being taught the same way. The platform understands the pace of each student and identifies learning gaps. The predictive technology can also cross the student profile with his college goals.

Pedro Massa, from Coca-Cola, recalled the evolution of Coca-cola action towards social demands in Brazil. He resumed the history of Coca-Cola in the country with an emphasis on philantropy actions to the evolution of corporate social responsibilty and the integration of sustainability into the core business of the company. “Within the premise of shared value to solve social and environmental problems, we can leverage business”.


How to redesign market and products?

Andrew Morlet, from cradle-to-cradle (C2C), explained the concept of cradle-to-cradle and its technical advantages. Reaclling the C2C preaches that the products should be refurbished in search of a circular economy. That is, a product can be disassembled for its the component parts to be reused in other products. Since reuse is less costly than recycling.

Also hitting  on the key to rethink products, Gui Brammes from WiseWaste brought successful cases in reverse logistics and reintegration of recycled material within the production chains.

Chemical Industry

Emiliano Graziano, BASF sustainability manager, told how the company Sbriobmanages its 353 production sites through a program named “sustainable solution steering”, based on needs analysis and sustainability trends on the chain, sustainability and productive performance of the sector as well as for market segments and development of action plans focusing on R&D.


BMW was present to reinforce its strategic goal of being the premium mobility worldwide leader. This transition counts with the advances in electric car and its required infrastructure, also beginning in Brazil.


Newinc is a construction company that has a clear proposal: its sites should not have a bucket with waste. All waste generated has to be reinserted in the productive process and applied in house construction for employees.


How brands can engage people?

Responsibility of a company is equal to its size, according to Yacoff Sarcovas from Edelman Significa. Responsibility is meant to change the internal behavior of the company and its stakeholders, thus, creating a culture of sustainability.

Fred Gelli, from Tátil Design, believes that enterprises need to deliver to the worlds what the world needs. It is important to remember that the brands are no longer the protagonists, the World is.

The construction of the relationship between brands and people need to reinvent: the prerogative of commercial catch phrases has been replaced by internet virals.

Still on the marketing evolution, Thomas Koster says that companies should care about customers and not simply make ads of its products. Ge brings the concept of Goodvertising, also title of his book, point out this way as the one to regain general public’s confidence on advertising. Classic examples is for Dove campaign on women self-esteem and the Body Shop front of non-tested on animal cosmetics.

Sirikul Laukaikul presented the sustainable branding concept based on Sufficiency Economy Philosophy methodology.


How to connect with the needs of society?

The interaction between the private and public secteurs, NGOs and universities came up with the speech of Eduarda La Roque, from the Pereira Passos Institute, presenting the Pacto do Rio: por uma cidade integrada.

GPA presented the Viva Bairro Project, which has the objectif of creating and supporting social and environmental actions involving the communities around the stores of Extra (a brand of GPA group). More info here.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was represented by Samuel Barrêto, Water Country Manager. He brought facts and findings claiming that the idea that Brasil can afford wasting water lost steam with the hydrical management crisis. Interest to note that although 13% of the worlds fresh water is in Brazil, only 16% are in the most populous regions (south, Southeast and Northeast).

Last but not least, Rick Ridgeway showed how Patagonia emerged and grew always seeking harmony with society and the environment. Learn more about its corporate sustainability here.