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Catapult Home / News / Brazil Opens Up Threatened Rainforest to Scientists and Business Experts
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Brazil Opens Up Threatened Rainforest to Scientists and Business Experts

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For the first time, the world’s largest tropical rainforest is to be made available to businesses, universities and entrepreneurs as a global science and innovation centre. It is hoped that this will help us to understand, protect and preserve this vital asset for future generations.

One of their most pressing aims will be to find better ways of making money from the rainforest than chopping down its trees.

Initial members of the Amazonian Alliance Science & Innovation Working Group – including academics from Imperial College London, University of Sussex and the UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult – are combining with the Brazilian Rainforest Conservation Company to tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time; the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Through a Strategic Alliance Agreement signed today, the Brazilian Rainforest Conservation Company (EBCF), under the umbrella of the ‘Amazonian Alliance’, and innovation experts, Redpill Group Ltd, are inviting others from around the world to join them in creating a science and innovation centre, set within an initial reserve of 50,000 acres of protected rainforest. This private sustainable development reserve is the first of its kind in the history of Brazil and the Amazon, with social projects related to health, education, infrastructure and income generation directly benefiting over 3,000 people living in 15 local communities.

EBCF, which is expected to open up a further 2 million acres in the next few years, is committed to the conservation, protection and well-being of Amazon rainforest communities by supporting the sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest produce, raw materials, and ingredients as well as the advancement of sustainable forestry and environmental eco-services. Other revenue streams include Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, the development of carefully designed eco-tourism and primary carbon credits, as part of the adoption of REDD+, resulting in a fully licensed Carbon Credit programme equating to an initial 3 million tons of CO₂ each year.

Joining EBCF and Redpill Group as initial members of the Amazonian Alliance Science & Innovation Working Group are academics from Imperial College London, University of Sussex, the Satellite Applications Catapult, satellite imagery experts Sterling-Geo and, as lead partners for Brazil, Hdom Consultoria Ambiental.

Members of the Working Group will help to develop an applied research strategy and programme of work to identify and unlock new research and commercial value exceeding that achievable from logging and forest destruction. A new financial paradigm and economic model for the Amazon will be developed to underpin the objectives of the Paris climate accord; not only providing sustainable and robust economic models for developing countries such as Brazil and transferring to other ecologically sensitive environments around the world, but also delivering new science, technology, innovation, policies, business and governance models that will contribute to mitigating and combating climate change.

The health of the Amazon is key to the behaviour of the world’s climate because this unique environment accounts for 20% of global oxygen production and holds up to 40% of the world’s fresh water in its rivers. The Amazon also holds the key to many known and future challenges, such as those in biodiversity, carbon capture and pharmacology.

Launching with a series of 200 acre plots and support facilities, the Science & Innovation Research Centre will be used for field research across a huge span of zoological, botanical, environmental and sustainable development interests. In addition, the Centre will open up the Amazon as the ultimate ‘living lab’; a test-bed for a range of adjacent science and technology, including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, food science, energy, Big Data, sensor and drone technologies, satellite & Remote Sensing Imagery, 3D modelling & data visualisation, image recognition and many more. Large companies already engaged as Partners via the “We are Amazonians” branded Global Sustainability Program, such as Sony Music Brazil and Hyundai, will be joined by entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses from Brazil and around the world.


EBCF / Amazonian Alliance; Leonardo Barrionuevo
Leonardo Barrionuevo, CEO of EBCF – Empresa Brasileira de Conservação de Florestas (Brazilian Rainforest Conservation Company) and President of the Amazonian Alliance Corp, said “We’ve created EBCF and the Amazonian Alliance with a singular vision based 100% on the sustainable development of our planet.

We are all humans. We all cohabit on the same small planet and are dependent on the same natural resources. We all cherish the future of our children. We must take care of the Amazon Rainforest for the present and future generations. After all, when it comes to the air we breathe, we are all Amazonians”

Redpill Group Ltd
Dr Robin Daniels, Managing Director of Redpill Group Ltd, said “Redpill Group is delighted to be appointed as Global Innovation Partner of the Amazonian Alliance and Chair of the Science & Innovation Working Group. The destruction of the Amazon Rainforest is one of the most significant challenges facing our planet. Finding robust and effective solutions will require the creative, energetic and sustained application of the world’s best scientific, technical, commercial and financial minds. The launch of this Working Group marks the start of that journey.”

Imperial College London
Professor Peter Childs, Head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering, said “We, at Imperial College London, are privileged and excited to be part of this endeavour to preserve the Amazon rain forest through scientific breakthroughs and the innovative adaptation of existing technologies. Combining our technical capabilities with a range of socio-economic and business expertise from across the College, we look forward to working with partners from around the world to address this most pressing of challenges.”

University of Sussex
Professor Steve McGuire, Head of the School of Business, Management and Economics, said: “As a research institution we are concerned with achieving progress at a wide scale and so have particular interest in how this work might become scalable at a wider scale in Amazonia, in Brazil and in other similar contexts around the world. Establishing the evidence base for practical delivery of social and economic progress within environmental limits is a highly relevant area of research for us.”

Satellite Applications Catapult
Dr Sam Adlen, Head of Business Innovation, Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Amazonian Alliance and leading Brazilian and UK partners to be able to develop new ways to protect, preserve and sustainably manage the tropical rainforest. The rainforest is one of our most vital assets as the pressures from climate change and other human influences grow. Through observation, positioning and remote communications, satellites can play a vital role in understanding, protecting and optimising the use of the rainforest. With growing commitments to zero deforestation, we look forward to working with the best in science and innovation to develop new approaches to maintaining and developing the rainforest for generations to come.”

Hdom Consultoria Ambiental
Mateus Bonadiman, M.Sc., CEO of Hdom Consultoria Ambiental, said “We’re delighted to join the Amazonian Alliance Science & Innovation Working Group, since we believe this initiative could bring Technologies that have potential to greatly improve forest economy and local people’s lives. Embrace new ways to sustainably manage the Amazonian Forest will help to avoid deforestation and create opportunity for local traditional populations to improve quality livelihood and build a better future for the generations to come.”

Sterling-Geo Ltd
Phil Cooper CIO and Director said “The Amazon Rainforest are lungs of the planet, the need to understand and monitor the change using Remote Sensing Imagery will accurately inform us all. For over 30 years we have been observing this destruction, now with a daily repeat cycle from satellites we can assess, monitor and inform on a scale and with greater accuracy than ever before. That information is the power we need to change opinion and represent the true economic as well as social value of the rainforest.”


Empresa Brasileira de Conservação de Florestas (EBCF)
EBCF, under the brand of the Amazonian Alliance, is a private corporation, based in Miami-FL, committed to the conservation, protection and well-being of Amazon Rainforest communities by supporting the sustainable harvesting of timber-free forest products, raw materials, and ingredients as well as the advancement of sustainable forestry and environmental eco-services. EBCF is focused on working towards Amazon rainforest conservation, biodiversity protection, sustainable sevelopment of local communities and a significant reduction of CO₂ emissions within EBCF’s Sustainable Reserves located in the Amazonas State, Brazil.

Contact: Leonardo Barrionuevo, CEO

Redpill Group Ltd
Redpill Group are strategy consultants and innovators in urban technologies and commercial development. We work internationally with cities, companies and universities to deliver sustainable solutions to complex challenges. We innovate, incubate, build and support new companies; developing new technologies and working with partners to take them to global markets.

Contact: Dr Robin Daniels, Managing Director

Imperial College London
Imperial College London is one of the world’s leading universities. The College’s 16,000 students and 8,000 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for society.

Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past – having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics – to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve health and wellbeing, understand the natural world, engineer novel solutions and lead the data revolution. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial’s exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees.

Imperial collaborates widely to achieve greater impact. It works with the NHS to improve healthcare in west London, is a leading partner in research and education within the European Union, and is the UK’s number one research collaborator with China.
Imperial has nine London campuses, including its White City Campus: a research and innovation centre that is in its initial stages of development in west London. At White City, researchers, businesses and higher education partners will co-locate to create value from ideas on a global scale.

Contact: Dr Thrishantha Nanayakkara, Reader in Design Engineering and Robotics

Sussex University
The University of Sussex is a leading research-intensive university near Brighton UK, currently ranked top 20 in all major league tables. We have both an international and local outlook, with staff and students from more than 100 countries and frequent engagement in community activities and services.

Contact: Dr Anthony Alexander, Lecturer in Operations Management

Satellite Applications Catapult
The Satellite Applications Catapult is an independent innovation and technology company, created to foster growth across the economy through the exploitation of space. We help organisations make use of and benefit from satellite technologies, and bring together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment. Based in Harwell UK, the Catapult was established in May 2013 by Innovate UK as one of a network of centres to accelerate the take-up of emerging technologies and drive economic growth. We are a not-for-profit research organisation which is registered as a private company limited by guarantee and controlled by its Board.

Contact: Sam Adlen, Head of Business Innovation

Hdom Ltd
Hdom Consultoria Ambiental is a Brazilian environmental consulting firm located in Manaus, State of Amazonas, that aims to promote sustainable business through the development of local production chains and promote specialized technical services. We are a spin out from the National Institute for Amazonian Research and maintain close working relations with a number of leading research universities across Brazil and around the world.

Contact: Mateus Bonadiman, CEO

Sterling-Geo Ltd
Sterling Geo engineers solutions that transform space-borne, airborne and terrestrial data into accurate, actionable information. We have a reputation for capability, quality and service, emanating from a combination of having the right people and our specialist technical knowledge.
Working both within the research and development and commercial sectors, our software and hardware offer a range of capabilities to work with big data and complex network environments used in delivering projects.

At the forefront of all major changes and challenges that face the geospatial industry, Sterling Geo understands and undertakes work to meet the commercial and technical pressures that have evolved with big data and complex network environments.

Contact: Phil Cooper, Chief Innovation Officer and Director

Satellite Applications Catapult
+44 (0)1235 567999
We help organisations make use of, and benefit from, satellite technologies, and bring together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment.

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