This was an interview I conducted in 2013 while I wrote for Brazil-Compass.com's Passion About Brazil Blog.
Green is Good with Dennis Barber III
Steve: What is your professional background?
Dennis: I am an economist, hoping to complete my PhD mid-year 2013 at the University of New Mexico. I am also the President and lead consultant of TechFinance International, LLC. Our focus lies with international technology transfers with emphasis on bringing environmentally responsible technologies to Brazil. I work out of our office in Brasília, Brazil.
S: In layman's terms, how does the process work?
D: That depends on who my client is. I could either work for someone in Brazil looking for a particular solution or I could work for someone trying to enter the marketplace here in Brazil. However, there are steps that are common regardless.
1) Evaluate the Brazilian marketplace
2) Evaluate the technology
3) Execute contracts to protect proprietary information
4) Determine which permits, approvals and licenses are needed here in Brazil
5) Locate investors and partners
6) Negotiate the purchase of the technology
7) License the technology for use in Brazil
These are some common steps, however, the process can be much less black and white.
S: What opportunities are now becoming available for businesses to take advantage of?
D: I can only speak for the opportunities that are in the industries where I have experience. The market for technologies, such as
1) Solid waste management solutions
2) Alternative energy production
3) Water and soil remediation
4) Industrial waste by-product remediation
5) Hospital waste management solutions
These are expanding rapidly, particularly due to the wave of environmental legislation in Brazil over the last 25 years.
S: What policies are being enacted that affects how businesses may be required to operate?
D: This wave of environmental policies started in the early 80s. For example,
1981--National Environmental Policy
This was a very general policy with hefty social and environmental goals, however, it lacked the specifics of enforcement to meet those goals.
1988--The new Brazilian Constitution included the concept of "the environment". It was the first Brazilian Constitution to do so.
1998--Environmental Crimes Law
This law gave more specific measures and created an infrastructure to reach the goals of the National Environmental Policy. It made the creators of pollution and industrial waste responsible for this production. This law is still being interpreted and it affects how businesses can operate here in Brazil. It regulates air, water and soil pollution. This was a federal policy and many states have since adopted their own version with even more strict requirements.
2010--National Policy for Waste Management
This policy laid out specific goals that municipalities had to become compliant with by the beginning of 2014. All mayors of municipalities were now responsible for what happens to the solid waste their city produces. Also, private hospital owners will be responsible for how their medical waste is treated. These responsibilities cannot be passed on to waste management companies.
Also, all cities must have a Waste Management Plan in place before 2014. This must include disposal, transportation, treatment, etc. and landfills CANNOT be part of this plan. This creates an opportunity for local and foreign firms to offer solutions for the municipalities.
Waste management companies must change the way they dispose of the waste and it will become nearly impossible to receive permits to dispose of waste in a non-environmentally friendly manner, at least that is one of the goals.
S: What sort of impact will this have on the consumer?
D: These policies do not necessarily affect "the consumer". In general, hopefully all citizens will become aware of the consequences of illegal dumping and ignorant disposal of waste. My hope is that these actions by the government will be taken seriously and that people's everyday lives will begin to reflect a higher awareness of the effects they have on the world around them.
S:What is your outlook for the future of environmentally friendly goods and services?
D: I believe the government has set a great example and is beginning to hold people responsible for the environmental damage they cause. If these policies are sternly enforced then I believe Brasil is on track to set an example for the world. If government officials become more socially and environmentally aware then I believe the market demand will increase for more responsible products. This, hopefully, will not be limited to the industries we have discussed but also will include all goods and services that are presented to the Brazilian consumers. The future is bright "green"!