Innovation That Matters

Global innovation spotlight: Brazil

Global Innovation Spotlight

Brazil Innovation Facts

Global Innovation Index ranking: 57th

Climate targets: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 50 per cent by 2030, carbon neutrality by 2050.

Sustainability challenges:

Protecting the Amazon – You can’t discuss sustainability in Brazil without addressing the 1.2-billion-acre elephant in the room. For most of human history, the Amazon rainforest has been a reliable carbon sink – taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. But in 2021 it was reported in the journal Nature that parts of the Amazon are now releasing more CO2 than they absorb. The main causes of this shift are beef and soy production, forest fires, and hot temperatures and droughts in the forest’s south-eastern region. At COP26, the Brazilian government laid out plans to end deforestation of the Amazon by 2030.

Agriculture – Brazil had 214.7 million head of cattle in 2019, and the country is also the world’s largest producer of soybeans. Agriculture is a big employer, providing nearly 10 per cent of Brazilian jobs. But it is also a major contributor to deforestation. Cattle ranching has been linked to 80 per cent of Amazon clearing. And, according to one study, roughly 20 per cent of soybean exports to the EU are contaminated by illegal deforestation.  

Water shortages – Brazil is currently facing a severe water crisis with many major reservoirs at less than 20 per cent capacity. It may seem strange that a country home to the world’s largest rainforest is short of water. But Brazil’s water resources are unevenly distributed across the country – with heavily-populated cities located far away from the Amazon basin.

Sector specialisms:




Source: Startup Universal

Three Exciting New Innovations From Brazil

Photo source Pixabay


Brazil’s agriculture industry is huge – providing almost one in ten of the country’s jobs. But despite the importance of agriculture to the economy, many farmers are poorly served by the financial system. Agricultural fintech startup TerraMagna aims to reduce farmers’ liquidity woes by making credit more affordable. The startup uses a wide range of data sources, such as satellite imagery and climate data, to assess a farmer’s creditworthiness. Read more.

Photo source Treevia


According to the United Nations, the need for timely, quality, and accessible data and statistics on forest management has never been more urgent. Sao Paulo-based Treevia is a technology platform that uses machine learning to monitor multiple variables in forest environments. Data is collected through extremely precise internet of things (IoT) sensors embedded within the forest environment. By providing accurate, automated, and structured data, Treevia hopes to empower researchers and forest-based companies to take meaningful actions that improve both productivity and sustainability. Read more.

Photo source Divulgação/WeCancer


Treatment regimens for cancer take a long time to complete. For example, a course of chemotherapy takes between three and six months. Moreover, many patients live with cancer for years. This means that patients spend a lot of time at home. Combining the ease of mobile chat applications with the reliability of professional health advice, healthtech app WeCancer seeks to make cancer outpatients and their families more comfortable when at home. Read more.

Words: Matthew Hempstead

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