Three questions for José Luiz Alquéres


Administrator of large public and private companies, national and international, the advisory adviser of ETCO talks about the role of companies in the environmental issue and the relationship between sustainability and competitive ethics.

1)    In 1972 the First World Conference on Man and the Environment, known as the Stockholm Conference, was held. For you, who actively contributed to the definition of the Brazilian position on the subject, what has changed in these 40 years?

The Brazilian position has been, in general, reactive and delayed. We almost always think that it is external interference by other countries, or people of other nationalities, to express concern about what may be happening here.

We have undoubtedly evolved, but we have not given up: “we do not accept that the environment hinders our development”. At all levels, we observe the struggle not only between ideas and concepts, but even between government agencies, around project approval.

We do not live up to the green of our flag; we should change it to brown, until we are aware of our environmental responsibility.

2)    Mr. argues that the solution to sustainability issues requires, necessarily, the greater involvement of the business sector. What reasons lead you to believe this premise and, in practice, how should this involvement occur?

I believe that we should look more at the business sector, because governments and the third sector preach in a vacuum, that is, they give statements, sign agreements and, when they get effective action, it is negative: stop something, postpone something to discuss, etc. , with few objective gains. Sectoral pacts from different business segments (starting with the most aggressive from the socio-environmental point of view) and the imposition of rules for green international trade by business initiative, for example, would be more effective actions. The truth is that environmental degradation is the result of production chains that only even producers can change and will do if, at the cry and desire of consumers, an innovative entrepreneurial spirit is combined.

3)    Is it possible to draw a parallel between business sustainability and competitive ethics? To what extent do these concepts overlap or complement each other?

Corporate sustainability - in its economic, social and environmental components - and the whole comprehensive concept of sustainability focuses on ethics that must preside over man's relations with nature and competitive ethics in men's relations with each other and with their institutions. They are, therefore, interdependent. There is no such thing as an “ethical medium” or “more or less ethical”. The “unethical”, so used colloquially, is an aberration. Whether it is or not. Do not create the fad of "fifty shades of ethics".