LBS joins forces with Grape ESG to launch Amazonia 4.0

Launched on Earth Day, April 22nd 2021, Amazonia 4.0 is a new film that highlights the foremost opportunities and threats to the Amazon rainforest.

The global community has become almost overly conversant with the severity of the principal narrative surrounding the future of the Amazon. Scientists have long called for international action on the world’s biggest tropical forest, acknowledging that the Amazon is essential for climate stability. Human activity is turning the region into a potential source of atmospheric carbon, with some areas close to a tipping point where the forest shrinks, and eventually degrades into a savannah.

Amazonia 4.0, while acknowledging these abiding hazards, looks ahead more hopefully to an innovative new model, where bioindustries in the Amazon unleash economic and inclusive opportunities for the protection of ecosystems, local and traditional communities.

This is a film about a crucially important, magnificent, yet threatened ecosystem that carries within it a global message of hope. Amazonia 4.0’s launch coincides with the Leaders’ Summit on Climate convened by US President Joseph Biden. The film brings together the voices of Brazilian world-renowned climatologist Carlos Nobre, representatives from the World Economic Forum and the Sustainable Amazon Foundation and London Business School’s own leading voice on sustainability, associate professor Ioannis Ioannou.

Created by Grape ESG, a company that works in partnership with investors and companies in Brazil to incorporate ESG factors into strategies and investment decisions, Amazonia 4.0 focuses on paths to sustainability that are needed to solve the problems of one of the most biodiverse biomes in the world. Amazonia 4.0 aims to provoke and inspire a timely, positive and forward-thinking discussion at a time when world leaders are gathering around climate change, development and other sustainability issues.

The 25-minute film, which is now available to view online through YouTube, will, it is hoped, become a rally cry, bringing together new scientific and business visions for the future in order to release new and inclusive economic opportunities for the protection of ecosystems and communities across the Amazon Basin.

Ione Anderson, Chief Operations Officer of Grape ESG, said that she felt the organisation owed debts to two individuals who, on the one hand made Grape possible, and on the other sparked the idea for Amazonia 4.0.

“Grape ESG is a direct result of Dr. Ioannou’ s Sustainability Leadership and Corporate Responsibility course at LBS. I first met Ricardo Assumpcao, the CEO of Grape, at this course in 2020. I had been following Ioannis’ research work for a several years, while working for an intergovernmental organisation. We were both so inspired by the course that we continued to meet weekly, as time allowed, to discuss ESG and sustainability.

Ione says that Brazilian scientist and meteorologist Carlos Nobre’s recent comments in an opinion article in The New York Times proved to be the inspiration for Amazonia 4.0: “There are new initiatives adhering to the principles of an innovative and decentralized bioeconomy rooted in the Amazon [and] the region can accommodate both human beings and biodiversity.”

These comments provided inspiration for the film, and the producers have since been working with business leaders in Brazil to build sustainability leadership based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies. These strategies, it is hoped, will address the existing gaps between business and science, integrating technology, science and sustainable production chains.