My journey exploring the sustainability sector in Brazil

September 16, 2014
by Gwendoline

The most sustainable restaurant in Rio serves Spanish food !


Iberico, a restaurant serving traditional Spanish food with a modern touch in the Jardim Botanico neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, stands out for its commitment to the 3 pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.

Regarding the environment, they invested in eco-friendly technology and renewable material. They built an organic garden Continue Reading →

July 28, 2014
by Gwendoline

São Paulo turning parking space into mini-parks


São Paulo is a city that has been called many things, but usually “green” or “pedestrian-friendly” isn’t one of them.

However, a project lead by Suzi Bolognese, a Brazilian-born Italian designer (Sb Design Studio) has been transforming parking spots of São Paulo into « parklets », which are mini-parks for pedestrians. The parklet concept and experience started in San Francisco in 2010, with the goal to make cities more human-centered, green and pleasant. It was a big success and was replicated in other cities of the US, Mexico and now Brazil.

Parklets typically take up the area of a few parking spaces and feature grass, benches, table, trees and spaces for bikes. They are leisure space for the city’s inhabitants. A pilot project had been introduced in the Brazilian business center during Environment week in 2013 and has proven so popular that the city intends to integrate more in the city landscape.

Could this be the beginning of a new effort to turn São Paulo into a less car-dominated capital?


July 1, 2014
by Gwendoline

2014 World Cup : A Failed Opportunity for Sustainability in Brazil

world cup

Half way into the 2014 World Cup, one looks at Brazil and thinks what a missed opportunity for sustainability this mega-event turned out to be.
Despite the commitments of FIFA and the local government to making the 2014 World Cup one of the “greenest” ever, it has underperformed on the three aspects of sustainability :

  • Environmental

Yes, features such as solar panels, waste reduction and energy efficiency measures have been implemented in the new stadiums and in the refurbishment of the epic Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. However, stadiums have been built in cities which will only host a handful of matches during the World Cup Continue Reading →

June 17, 2014
by Gwendoline

Reverse Logistics — A Hope for Wastepickers


A while back, when I wrote a post about the recylcing effort of Instituto Coca-Cola in Brazil, I had mentioned the difficult reality of “catadores” (wastepickers) in this country.
A few weeks ago,a great sustainability website site called Reset wrote a series of  interesting stories about sustainability in Brazil, one of which presenting how BVRio is supporting the catadores and working on creating a Credit Market for waste. I have decided to re-post this story here. Feel free to check their website to read the other ones.


With the expected influx of 600,000 foreign and 3.1 million Brazilian soccer fans in the coming weeks, World Cup organisers estimate that 320 tonnes of solid waste will be generated from the June 12 to July 13 FIFA World Cup. Solid-waste management is a major challenge in urban areas throughout the world. What is the role of Reverse Logistics in waste management in Brazil? Continue Reading →

May 12, 2014
by Gwendoline

An innovative green building in the business center of Rio: RB12!

RB12_2_terraço (1)

For anybody who knows the business “Centro” of Rio, the RB12 project will seem truly amazing. Conceived by Triptyque, an architect office based in São Paulo and Paris, with over ten years of experience in sustainable architecture and smart building, RB12 will be located at number 12 of the famous Avenida Rio Branco, the main street of that business neighborhood.

The RB12 project, executed in partnership with Natekko a construction company also specialized in sustainable building, is revolutionary for two reasons.
Continue Reading →

May 8, 2014
by Gwendoline

Coleta TETO 9-10-11 Maio


Esse final de semana, nos dias 9-10-11 de Maio vai acontecer um evento muito importante em todo o Brasil . Todos os voluntários e apoiadores do TETO sairão às ruas para denunciar a situação de extrema pobreza em que milhões de pessoas vivem no Brasil.

TETO é uma organização presente na América Latina e Caribe, em mais de 19 países, que busca superar a situação de pobreza em que vivem milhões de pessoas nas comunidades precárias, através da ação conjunta de seus moradores e jovens voluntários.

Uma grande amiga minha trabalha como voluntaria com eles há alguns meses e eu tenho visto  o poder que TETO tem para mudar a vida das pessoas. Não só a pessoas que recebem uma casa mas também (e até mais) dos voluntários. O trabalho do TETO é muito importante, muito humano. Eu quero comunicar sobre esse evento porque eles buscam doações para projetos de melhora da vida das comunidades.

Eles também ainda precisam de voluntários aqui no Rio de Janeiro, INSCREVA SE para a COLETA!!! através do link aqui. Para saber mais sobre o evento, se pode dar uma olhada nessa vídeo ou aqui no site do TETO.


May 6, 2014
by Gwendoline
1 Comment

The shared economy is booming in Brazil. #ColaboraRio proved it


The last weekend of April, under the name #ColaboraRio, 3 days of conference about collaboration, open source, and shared methodologies unfolded in the cool Centro Carioca de Design, artsy place full of architectural projects in Praça Tiradentes in the center of Rio. #ColaboraRio: Design, Collaboration, and Distributed Systems, was organized by MateriaBrasil and Goma , curated  by Karen Demavivas, Tomás de Lara and Thiago Maia.

A few months back, I had attended and wrote about the OuiShare Rio Conference at Comuna in Botafogo, which was also organized by Karen and directly influenced #ColaboraRio.  I found it interesting to discover various players of the shared economy in Rio. (see official summary of the event here)  The #ColaboraRio weekend however made me realize that this was a real movement, a force of change in Rio, and perhaps in Brazil.

The event was Continue Reading →

April 14, 2014
by Gwendoline

Amazing natural retreat in Bahia




The air is heavy with fresh moisture and the mingled chirping of birds. Community members pad serenely past a tangled heap of dogs playing on the floor. There are ten of us scattered around the hillside in wooden bungalows. Guests are left to their own devices. On my first morning as a volunteer at Pedra do Sabia I was given the day off, so while everyone had breakfast at eight I rose later and helped myself to four exquisitely delicious bananas and a cup of coffee and then sat on the terrace to write. Stepping stones wind down the lawn to the pavilion where Qi Gong sessions are held every morning, and beyond it I can see the River Contas sweeping through lush tropical rainforest.

Hugo, a quiet Frenchman, founded Pedra do Sabia in 2008, 15 kilometers away from Itacare (Bahia, North of Brazil) in a Private Reserve of Natural Heritage. I asked him why he decided to leave Europe. He looks at me over the large frames of his spectacles and speaks slowly through a thick accent:

“I always felt there was something wrong with the way of life in Europe, all that waste and stress. I wanted to build a place where I could live in harmony with the natural cycles of nature.” They grow much of their own food here and prepare three delicious vegetarian meals a day. Fruits of all shapes Continue Reading →

March 23, 2014
by Gwendoline
1 Comment

Visiting Rio and looking for housing? Why not consider renting in the favelas ?

Favela Experience

I met Elliot a few weeks ago. I was really curious after having heard so much about him, “the American guy who rents out rooms and flats to tourists in the favelas”.  Indeed, his start-up Favela Experience does exactly that: offer affordable housing, for international tourists coming for instance for the World Cup, in the pacified favelas of Rio, mostly Rocinha and Vidigal in the South Zone of Rio where the views are beautiful. Consider him the Airbnb of  favelas. Actually, he uses the famous rental platform to list some of his offerings.

The things I love about Elliot’s venture are:

-       that Elliot had the guts to start it on his one as a “gringo” in Brazil

-       that the foreign visitors will get to Continue Reading →

January 27, 2014
by Gwendoline

Where to buy organic products? 7 natural shops in Rio

I have already mentioned in a previous post some restaurant options for organic and vegetarian food but I thought it would also be useful to report on organic shops and markets where you can buy organic or natural food to cook or eat at home.

Other than the chain Mundo Verde , which most people know, here are some wonderful – and somewhat more discrete addresses that I recommend.

Some names you will recognize from my restaurant list because they actually have a shop as well as a restaurant.

This is the case for  Emporio Saúde in Ipanema and Botafogo : a little store when you can buy vegetarian and organic products. There is also Metamorfose in the Centro, on rua Santa Luzia and last but not least New Natural in Ipanema on Barrão da Torre  which I mentioned in my post on natural açaí. New natural also has various gluten-free and dairy-free products.



I also recommend Continue Reading →