The 2021 Environmental Action Seminar took place between December 7 and 10, based on the theme of the “Blue Economy: A Sea of Opportunities for Sustainable Development.” The event, organized by the Rio de Janeiro State Federation of Industry (Firjan) since 2013, promotes debate through talks by professionals who are experienced and renowned in their areas of activity. OceanPact’s commercial director, Érik Cunha, took part in the opening ceremony, and on December 8, the company’s sustainability director, Fernando Borensztein, gave a presentation during a panel discussion called “Climate Change and the Ocean.”
The seminar’s ninth edition was sponsored by OceanPact and it was aimed at business people, opinion leaders and the general public. During the opening ceremony, Érik Cunha said that now is a great time to address the blue economy. Like Firjan, OceanPact is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and it also supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 14, which is about life under water.
“We know that extreme weather events have intensified, posing new challenges to all coastal cities and populations, as is the case with Rio de Janeiro. Ocean acidification is a threat to the maintenance of balance and biodiversity, especially in coral reefs, which are breeding grounds for many marine species. We have been tracking these changes through environmental monitoring and seabed mapping work,” Cunha said in his opening remarks. “We are working to promote the sustainable use of the oceans. For this reason, we have our own greenhouse gas emissions inventory and we are funding various projects to reduce emissions. The 2021 Environmental Action Seminar is closely aligned with OceanPact’s sustainability and innovation principles,” he added.
In his talk on the challenges and opportunities involved in decarbonizing activities at sea, Fernando Borensztein addressed sustainability in the context of the energy transition and how it relates to the subject of climate change. He presented several initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of maritime activities, such as replacing fossil fuels with cleaner alternatives, increasing energy efficiency and consequently cutting fuel demand, carbon capture initiatives, and generation of renewable energy at sea. He also discussed the role of innovation in all these areas.
“More than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector and we need to discuss how society is facing the challenges entailed in supplying more and more energy while reducing carbon emissions,” explained OceanPact’s sustainability director. The company maintains contact with centers that are developing new technologies around the world and it constantly invests in research in order to encourage the advancement of the blue economy. At the end of his talk, Borensztein presented a project implemented by the company in Rio de Janeiro, focused on replanting mangrove vegetation in the Guapi-Mirim Environmental Protection Area in Guanabara Bay.