Sustainable challenges facing the cleaning Products industry in LatAm

Ahead of his presentation on Reducing the Environmental Impact of Concentrated Products, Smithers Apex recently sat down with Cleaning Products Latin America speaker,  Emerson George de Vasconcelos, Regional Vice President Latin America for Novozymes Latin America.

Emerson gave us exclusive insights on what are the current sustainable challenges facing the cleaning products industry and how can a company that makes biological solutions help to deliver more sustainable solutions in LatAm while maintaining and improving their performance.


Smithers Apex: What are some of the current sustainable challenges facing the cleaning Products industry in LatAm, right now?

de Vasconcelos: Sustainable changes have to show the consumers the added value in each cleaning product. Education could be one of the ways to call consumer’s attentions – a new mind set – because in the end of the day is about the continuation of our society in a better world.

Consumers must see that is a win-win situation where everybody has responsibilities – it is the awakening of everybody´s sustainable consciousness. 


Smithers Apex: How can a company that makes biological solutions like Novozymes, help to deliver more sustainable solutions in LatAm while maintaining and improving their performance?

de Vasconcelos: Novozymes has delivered all the major innovations within industrial enzymes for the last 40 years. We work closely with our partners to gain a strong understanding of markets and priorities. Together we anticipate needs and demands and develop solutions that give a competitive edge while increasing industrial efficiency. Our biosolutions enable cost savings and reduced environmental impacts by reducing the amount of raw materials used, substituting chemicals and improving product quality.


Smithers Apex: What do you think are the most important issues facing Latin America and Brazil, right now?

de Vasconcelos: There is no doubt that the issues are related to economic crisis and political instability. Brazil is the ninth world economy and represents one third of gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America.  Brazil is also the main trading partner of the Mercosur countries, with the exception of Venezuela, and is amongst the top five partners of most nations in the region, so what happens to Brazil reflects in the other Latin American economies.  In Brazil specifically the scandal of corruption, political crisis are barriers to our development and growth. Add to that high interest rates and high inflation resulting in the flattening of consumer’s income that now only spend their money on the basic goods, replacing traditional and branded products by other similar and cheaper, these are really worrying factors.

Our neighbor Argentina is suffering the effect of Brazilian retraction as Brazil is the main market for the country's exports and absorbs about 46% of its industrial sales. But the case is that with Brazil’s recession has already affected Argentina exports, making it fall 47,9%, reaching similar levels to those of the global economic crisis in 2009.

Venezuela's economy, which is heavily dependent on oil exports (95%), is deeply affected by the fall in international commodity prices, which, according to Istúriz, led the country to lose 70% of its revenue. In 2015, the recession deepened for the second consecutive year with a decline of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first three quarters of the year, down from 1.4% in the first, 4.7% in the second and 7.1% on the third. Venezuela’s inflation in the first nine months of 2015 was 108.7% (accumulated) and the change in estimated annualized in the third quarter closing of this year was 141.5%. These are the worst inflation figures recorded in the history of the country, who lived one of its worst crises in 1996, with an inflation rate of 103%, and another in 1989, with 84.5%.

But in despite the challenges, we have a very large internal market and as the current governments are being renewed, we see an opportunity for Latin America to pursue and get back to the growth seen in the past 15 years.


Smithers Apex: What are you most looking forward to at Cleaning Products LatAm?

de Vasconcelos: I’m looking forward to meeting the many delegates and to some lively discussions of the many interesting subjects on the agenda. It is always inspiring to hear international presenters and to meet current and future customers.