RIO DE JANEIRO - The opening panel of the second edition of the Virada Sustentável Festival in Rio de Janeiro, which runs until Sunday (10), addressed the importance of partnerships between different sectors and the convergence of efforts to meet the sustainable development goals. The meeting was held during World Environment Week, which also ends on Sunday, and matched World Oceans Day, which receives special attention in coast cities such as Rio de Janeiro.
Marina Grossi, President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), mediated the panel called “Sustainability Partnerships”, attended by Daniel Mancebo, General Coordinator of the Rio de Janeiro State Planning Office, Jorge Soto, Sustainable Development Director at Braskem, the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, and Shyrlei Rosendo, Coordinator of Mobilization of the Public Safety Hub at Redes da Maré.
People, businesses and government – all together
According to Shyrlei Rosendo, partnerships are crucial in building a truly sustainable future. As the coordinator of mobilization at Redes da Maré, she said that the first and most important partnerships happen among people. In line with Shyrlei, the first step is uniting those who believe that another society is possible. “If we do not get together and believe in the citizens, there’s no use in caring for the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” she said.
The SDGs are an agreement signed by all Member States of the UN and encourages companies and citizens to achieve the goals of wiping out poverty, ensuring food security for all and protecting the planet from environmental threats, among other objectives, by 2030.
Particularly in Maré, where Shyrlei works mobilizing the population around a common agenda, she recalls the union created among 16 different associations of residents to make an urban survey of the region. The results of the research pointed out that Maré needed more educational equipment. Villagers, united by education, have requested these devices and, in less than 10 years, tripled them - from 16 to 44 equipments.
Jorge Soto, Sustainable Development Director at Braskem, stressed that it is impossible to promote sustainability in isolation. “As a company, our role is to seek solutions through business,” he said. “In this sense, our first partnerships are with our customers, but they extend to our suppliers and, internally, our members.”
He described the partnership between Braskem and Toyota Tsusho, which is essential for the development of Green PE, a biopolymer made from sugarcane. "They wanted a new product and guaranteed the first purchase of the resin that we developed," Soto said. The director also recalled partnerships made by the recycling platform Wecycle, created by Braskem. In Wecycle, cooperatives work with other companies, such as the Pão de Açúcar Group, social projects and non-profit organizations with the common goal of fostering the reuse of materials.
One of the mentioned projects was Edukatu, led by Hélio Mattar, who works to create a sustainable culture among young people. Lately, the aim of the initiative is to enable elementary school students to become young multipliers of environmental causes and competent to examples that guarantee sustainability within their homes.
The SDG Experience Handbook of the Metropolitan Region of Rio and Brazil
The SDG Experience Handbook of the Metropolitan Region of Rio and Brazil was also released in the opening event. The handbook is a partnership of Casa Fluminense, as a member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with GIZ, through the Solutions Initiative project, which aims to spread and collaborate in achieving the sustainable development goals in Brazil and in the Metropolitan Region of Rio by 2030.
The publication outlines six key steps for implementing the SDGs in the Metropolitan Regions and one of them is, precisely, the formation of strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, universities, companies and governments.