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Brazilian companies commit to voluntary environmental curbs news
26 August 2009

Twenty two organistions, including some of Brazil's most important listed companies, have present an open letter to the country on climate change, presenting their voluntary commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The document, an initiative led by Vale, the Ethos Institute and the Sustainable Amazon Forum, also contains a series of suggestions regarding the Brazilian government's position at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will take place in December in Copenhagen. New commitments and mechanisms to combat global warming will be debated at COP-15.

The open letter was handed to the environment minister, Carlos Minc, and chief negotiator of the Brazilian delegation in Copenhagen, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, at a seminar yesterday in São Paulo, Brazil and Climate Change - Opportunities for a Low-Carbon Economy.

The letter is a major milestone in discussions on the theme, as this is the first time that Brazilian business leaders have formally presented initiatives to combat global warming. The commitments include a pledge by signatory companies to monitor their emissions and publish annual inventories, and a drive for continual reductions in net CO 2 emissions (emissions minus sequestration).

Signatories will also support the creation of an incentive mechanism aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which will promote conservation and sustainable forest management. The idea behind REDD is to create economic value from retaining forest cover or avoiding deforestation. This mechanism could provide a profitable way of reducing deforestation in the Amazon, which is currently the main source of Brazil's CO 2 emissions, because it proposes to pay financial compensation to landowners of native forest who undertake to protect their forests.

"Climate change means we have to find alternative sources of energy and raw materials to produce goods and services. Vale's core activity is mining these raw materials. Climate change is part of our strategic evaluation of our portfolio of products and services in the long term," says Vale's director for the environment and sustainable development, Luiz Claudio Castro. .


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Brazilian companies commit to voluntary environmental curbs