Back from Brazil this morning, finding it hard to forget the fate of AF447 – particularly when the flight out on Monday night hit quite an air pocket part-way out. Was speaking at the Ethanol Summit 2009, in São Paulo. Missed Bill Clinton’s speech, sadly, but enjoyed my panel with Lord (John) Browne (previously BP) and José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevado, President of Petrobras. Recently wrote a letter to the Harvard Business Review in the wake of an HBR article by Gabrielli on the ‘greening’ of the giant Brazilian oil company. There’s no doubt that progress has been made, but the company’s recent behaviour in its spat with Instituto Ethos, where I sit on the International Board, has been disturbing.
I took the photo above during a dinner hosted by UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, at a wonderful restaurant called Figueira Rubaiyat, where the area in which we sat was built around this utterly astonishing fig tree, well over 100 years old, and the size of a pod of whales. I had bacalhau, salt cod, which was served in a sizzling cauldron and was utterly delicious.
Among the companies I spoke to during the event was Braskem, which is working on a range of ‘green’ polymers, including polyethylene. Shown in the photos are a green version of Monopoly which they have been selling through Wal-Mart, where all the pieces are made of green polymers made from ethanol.
Finished off Philip Kerr’s stunning novel A Quiet Flame on the flight back, and ended up concluding that Argentina should have been given a free pass to miss the 20th century altogether. What an utter monster Perón was.