Renewable Resources Brazil Brazil: Growing from the Shadows With Renewable Resources

Author / Editor: DR. KATHRIN RÜBBERDT / Dominik Stephan

While the rapid industrial development of China has been arresting the attention of many observers, Brazil offers tremendous opportunities for co-operation and investment.

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Fermented sugar-cane juice flows through a series of distillation columns to produce ethanol. (Picture: Raízen)
Fermented sugar-cane juice flows through a series of distillation columns to produce ethanol. (Picture: Raízen)

Europe is discussing potential shortages of resources — Brazil is seemingly spoilt for choice. Broad agricultural areas and a history in the usage of renewable resources like sugar cane reaching back for about four decades give Brazil a strategic advantage at the threshold of the age of renewable resources. Brazil is the world’s second-largest producer of bio fuels and largest bio fuel exporter. At the same time, Brazil is also an oil country. In 2008, a giant oilfield was discovered in the deep sea off the Brazilian shore. Environmental concerns, not least the experience of the Deep Water Horizon catastrophe in the Mexican Gulf, have so far slowed down the development of this oilfield, but the government is set on overcoming technical and political obstacles and rising to one of the world’s large oil exporters in the long run. Even today, Brazil is a net oil exporter and among the ten biggest oil supplying countries for the US. The recoverable oil resources are estimated at 13,000 billion barrels.

Renewable Resources Help to Recover From Crisis

The Brazilian economy has recovered remarkably well from the dip it took in the global financial crisis 2008-09. The fifth-largest country in the world, Brazil is currently ranked number nine of national economies (in terms of Purchasing Power Parities). For some time now, Brazil has used exports of raw materials and food to finance the development of its own industry. The top five export products in terms of value are iron ore, oils and fuels, transport equipment (specifically aircraft), soy, sugar and ethanol. Manufactured goods count for 40% of total exports; only 14 % of these manufactured goods can be classified as “high-tech”, according to a report by Deutsche Bank Research.


The plant manufacturing industry is well-structured and includes all sizes of companies. According to the Brazilian Association of Plant Manufacturing, the turnover in 2010 amounted to about US$ 45 billion; total sales in Brazil summed up to about US$ 62 billion.