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  • New platform aims to increase timber transparency

    2016 - 12.01

    A new online tool will enable timber traders to see how sustainable their purchases from timber countries including Brazil and Indonesia are.

    The platforms’ creators, environmental organisation BVRio, say it will reduce illegal practices in the timber sector.

    The Responsible Timber Exchange, launched last week, gives timber buyer pricing, supply chain and certification information on timber and wood products from several countries, as well as FSC- and PEFC-certified suppliers.

    BVRio said its tool has been launched to meet the demand of consumers eager for products made from responsibly sourced products, as well as timber importers required by legislation to state where their wood products have come from.

    “This is the first vehicle that promotes legality and sustainability,” said Pedro Moura Costa, the founder and president of BVRio.

    The platform provides pricing information, current market conditions for different timber and wood products and, for wood imported from Brazil, a due diligence and risk assessment report.

    Planting of new forests ‘major investment opportunity’

    2016 - 12.01

    There is a “strong financial case” for planting good quality, commercial forests ripe for investment, an industry body says.

    Tilhill’s latest Forest Market report 2016 recommends new productive forest planting in the UK.

    Forestry industry representatives and investors joined together at the launch of the report in London, where they heard there was a shortage of good quality, commercial forests and a financial case existed for creating new ones.

    “The UK timber processing industry is continuing to grow and develop as the forests, planted in the 1970’s and 1980’s mature,” said Jason Sinden of Tilhill.

    “However, the lack of more recent planting means that there will be a shortage of timber in around 20 years’ time.”

    “Given statistics showing that restocking of felled conifer crops is lagging behind the harvested area, we are at risk of losing productive forest area at a time when the demand for timber shows every sign of increasing,” said Fenning Welstead of John Clegg & Co.

    The report shows 79.19 million of forest properties was traded in 2016 – a drop from 2015’s record sales of 150 million.

    Shell to put $10bn into Brazil

    2016 - 12.01

    Energy giant Shell has announced it plans to invest $10 billion (8 billion) in Brazil over a five-year investment cycle in a sign of growing external confidence in the Latin American economy.

    The move, which could have a positive boost on Brazil’s forestry sector, will see Shell tap into the increased opportunities for foreign companies in the country’s oil industry.

    Already the largest foreign investor in Brazil, Shell plans to invest about 2 billion every year as it looks to double its global deep water production by the early 2020s. It will find the investment from the more than 30 billion in capital it already has deployed in Brazil.

    Regulatory changes announced by Brazil’s government have allowed Shell to expand its deepwater oil and production work there. The firm has 5,500 energy stations in the country and, as a result of its takeover of BG Group earlier this year, owns a number of Brazil oil and gas assets.

    As a result of the investment, production from the company's deepwater portfolio is expected to rise from about 450,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels per day.

    "This was a good move by the government and it will open up opportunities for more players to invest in Brazil," Shell chief executive officer Ben van Beurden said.

    Big firms work together on deforestation guidance

    2016 - 12.01

    Major brands including L’Oreal, Mars and Tetra Pak have pledged to work together to tackle deforestation and develop better accounting methods for climate change, it has been reported.

    The global project developed by sustainability organisation Quantis aims to realise a comprehensive, centralised set of standards that companies can use to report on greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. They will also allow businesses to account for climate change and set targets for improvement, edie.net reported.

    A range of companies and organisations have signed up to the initiative, including non-profits, government and academic institutions such as the Rainforest Alliance, ADEME and the Sustainability Consortium. Quantis said it wants to publish the guidance in April 2017.

    Deforestation and the effect on land use are thought to represent more than 20 per cent of global emissions. Companies are increasingly being called upon to commit to environmental pledges and work to reduce their emissions. Quantis said firms, especially those working in the agricultural and forestry industries, need to get much better at reporting and tracking their progress on forestry impacts.

    Quantis US managing director and project lead Jon Dettling was reported as saying: “Companies understand the need to reduce the impacts of their supply chains and are increasingly interested in communicating about their efforts. Credible metrics are critical for achieving both.

    “A greenhouse gas accounting method that is conducive to corporate goal setting and supply chain management will allow companies to achieve progress and to communicate credibly on these efforts.”

    As a company with a focus on sustainable forestry, Greenwood Management welcomes the news that major firms have committed to this initiative.

    Brazil president shores up confidence after Trump elected

    2016 - 11.15

    Brazil’s president Michel Temer is attempting to bolster confidence in his ambitious reform package after the country’s currency plummeted following Donald Trump’s US election victory.

    Brazil’s currency was one of the worst hit in an emerging market sell-off sparked by the billionaire’s shock defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Financial Times reported, suffering a 7.3 per cent depreciation – its worst three-day loss against the dollar since 2008.

    At the weekend the Temer administration published a lengthy list of its claimed economic and social achievements since the incumbent president took power about six months ago.

    Following the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff in August, Brazil’s stock market and currency have spiked, but were hard hit following Mr Trump’s victory.

    “On May 12, at the start of the new government, financial market projections for gross domestic product in 2017 were for growth of 0.5 per cent. Now, after our economic measures, the previsions are for 1.2 per cent growth,” the Brazil government said.

    But analysts pointed to the real’s fall in the few day’s since Mr Trump’s win as a sign of vulnerability in external markets.

    “This is a reminder that the political backdrops in several countries are very uncertain, particularly in Brazil,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the FT.

    Mr Temer is pushing through fiscal reforms to help plug a budget deficit as his government attempts to pull Brazil out of one of its worst recessions.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.

    Brazil ‘on right track’

    2016 - 11.15

    Brazil is making good progress in its attempt to drive itself out of one of its worst recessions but must open its economy if it is to achieve continued growth, the country’s top economists say.

    In positive news for people thinking about investing in Brazil’s forestry sector, speakers at the annual assembly of the Latin American Banking Federation, held recently in Buenos Aires, said Brazil should start to see a modest return to growth next year.

    GT Review reported that economists from banks including Banco Bradesco and Banco Safra shared a “positive outlook” on Brazil achieving one per cent GDP growth in 2017 and around 2.5 per cent in 2018.

    Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, is in recession but has embarked on a robust growth plan spearheaded by president Michel Temer.

    Otavio de Barros, Bradesco’s chief economist, said a lack of budgetary governance, acceptance of medium to high inflation (currently around six per cent) and being one of the most closed large economies in the world had hampered Brazil’s economy.

    “In the last five decades we have built a very potent economy and now it’s time more than ever to open the economy, gradually and by investing in bilateral and regional agreements. This is crucial to productivity,” Mr de Barros was quoted as saying.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.

    Brazil to monitor weather in Amazon rainforest

    2016 - 11.01

    Brazil’s government is reported to have set up the world’s tallest tower as it looks to monitor weather systems in the Amazon rainforest.

    The plus55 website says the tower will be used to monitor the relationship between the rainforest and the atmosphere.

    It’s located 150 kilometers away from the capital of the state of Amazonas in Manaus, in a reserve dedicated to sustainable development.

    At a height of 325 meters, the tower has been built to last for 30 years and will be used to collect data about the gasses that pass between the rainforest and the atmosphere. The tower will start earning its keep in early 2017, after being delivered to the site by plane in three containers.

    “Much of the equipment is of high precision and risks being damaged by the rainforest’s conditions, most notably regarding humidity and intense heat,” plus55 said. “Protection and adequate conditions are therefore necessary at all times.”

    The $7 million project is a partnership between Brazil and Germany.

    Take a look here if you’re interested in finding out more about investment opportunities in Brazil.

    Big firms work together on deforestation guidance

    2016 - 10.27

    Major brands including L’Oreal, Mars and Tetra Pak have pledged to work together to tackle deforestation and develop better accounting methods for climate change, it has been reported.

    The global project developed by sustainability organisation Quantis aims to realise a comprehensive, centralised set of standards that companies can use to report on greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. They will also allow businesses to account for climate change and set targets for improvement, edie.net reported.

    A range of companies and organisations have signed up to the initiative, including non-profits, government and academic institutions such as the Rainforest Alliance, ADEME and the Sustainability Consortium. Quantis said it wants to publish the guidance in April 2017.

    Deforestation and the effect on land use are thought to represent more than 20 per cent of global emissions. Companies are increasingly being called upon to commit to environmental pledges and work to reduce their emissions. Quantis said firms, especially those working in the agricultural and forestry industries, need to get much better at reporting and tracking their progress on forestry impacts.

    Quantis US managing director and project lead Jon Dettling was reported as saying: “Companies understand the need to reduce the impacts of their supply chains and are increasingly interested in communicating about their efforts. Credible metrics are critical for achieving both.

    “A greenhouse gas accounting method that is conducive to corporate goal setting and supply chain management will allow companies to achieve progress and to communicate credibly on these efforts.”

    As a company with a focus on sustainable forestry, Greenwood Management welcomes the news that major firms have committed to this initiative.

    ‘No better time’ to invest in Brazil

    2016 - 10.24

    It’s becoming easier and safer for foreigners to invest in Brazil’s infrastructure, it has been claimed.

    Leading Brazilian politicians said the country’s president, Michel Temer, had embarked on a positive framework for growth that should put Brazil, which is in recession, back on track.

    The politicians were speaking this month at an event organised by London Business School (LBS).

    Addressing LBS’s Brazil Forum, politicians including Moreira Franco and Fernando Bezerra said they were confident the Brazilian economy would recover soon and that the government would secure private investment for key sectors.

    Mr Franco, executive secretary of Brazil’s Investment Partnership Programme, said ex-president Lula da Silva was to blame for the country’s problems.

    “It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s not one drawer in the economy cupboard that is not messy,” he said.

    “We have committed to making necessary changes, especially to the social security situation. We have approved amendments to the constitution that will balance income, revenue and expenditure.”

    Mr Bezerra, Brazil’s Mining and Energy Minister, said the country wanted to secure private investment for 34 infrastructure and oil and gas projects.

    “We are betting that the Brazilian economy will recover soon and it’s already showing signs,” he said. “We’re optimistic that the market will recognise our efforts.”

    Maurício Quintella, Brazil’s Transport Minister, said: “Brazil is going through the biggest recession in our history because of wrong decisions. But we are now in a new situation with a new president and a new government: it is a new moment. Brazil is listening to the private sector as it never has before.”

    With 200 million inhabitants, Brazil has the seventh biggest GDP in the world.

    Japan PM: Brazil is a great investment opportunity

    2016 - 10.20

    Japan’s Prime Minister has said Brazil represents a significant investment opportunity for his country in what could be promising news for people looking to explore Brazil’s forestry sector.

    Shinzo Abe held a meeting with Brazilian President Michel Term and praised the investment opportunities in the South American country, particularly in the field of infrastructure, Reuters reported.

    The two countries have been holding talks on infrastructure development. Japan is eyeing-up the potential of Brazil’s economy and Brazil is looking for foreign investment to turn around its recession, analysts say.

    “Brazil represents a chance for Japan. In particular, there is a large investment opportunity in the area of infrastructure,” Mr Abe said at a news conference, Reuters reported.

    “I’m really glad we’ve managed to agree to launch talks on infrastructure development.”

    Officials from both countries will explore cooperation plans in areas including transport, logistics, information technology and energy.

    Mr Temer is working on a strategy to pull-in foreign and private investment, last month announcing that licences for operating oil, gas, electricity and infrastructure projects would be auctioned off.

    It’s thought the Brazilian government could allow private firms to run airports, railways and other transport infrastructure as well as build roads and port terminals.

    He’s also on something of a charm offensive as he attempts to smooth relations with Japan, after previous President Dilma Rousseff twice cancelled official trips there.

    The positive moves with Japan come after Brazil signed co-operation agreements with India over agricultural projects, in a move that could be good news for people thinking of investing in timber and timber plantations in Brazil. The two countries will try to advance mutual knowledge in genetic resources, agriculture, animal husbandry, natural resources and fisheries.

    Brazil has a rich, diverse forestry sector that is popular with investors, with 7.7 million hectares of certified forest.