Bug: Brazilian company innovates against Pesticides
Wasps to combat cash crops
Killer wasps! Fear not–this isn’t the movies. These predatory insects are the good guys, programmed to target only their natural enemy (which is not your scrawny behind). Bug Agentes Biológicos mass-produces wasps to combat larvae and stinkbugs that threaten sugarcane and soybean plants, two of Brazil’s largest cash crops. This past year, Bug perfected a way to spray its wasps onto soy fields, just as pesticides are spread via airplane. “We can liberate the insects in the right dose, at the right speed, and with the right protection so they can be effective,” says Francisco Jardim, a Brazilian VC who has invested in Bug and sits on its board. Wasps, for example, need to be protected until their wings grow big enough for flight, or else ants present a threat. (Isn’t nature grand?)
Third-largest agricultural exporter
Bug’s timing feels right. Brazil is the world’s third-largest agricultural exporter (behind the United States and EU); it recently passed the U.S. as the largest consumer of pesticides. Yet the country has begun to phase out the more noxious chemical pesticides Brazilian farmers use despite diminishing effectiveness. Bug has the only alternative approved by Brazilian agricultural, health, and environmental ministries. It’s currently at 100% capacity with plans to double the acreage it covers.
Preventive solution to eliminate pests as eggs
Bug describes its wasps to farmers as a preventative solution that eliminates pests as eggs, forestalling full-blown infestations. It also eschews selling to small organic farmers in favor of Brazil’s agribusiness giants, such as global sugarcane producers Royal Dutch Shell. “Our potential,” says Jardim, “is Brazil’s entire $7 billion pesticide market.”
Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its strategy
Innovation at the heart of the strategy
The manufacturer of building materials Lafarge intends to place “innovation at the heart of his strategy”, said the group’s CEO Bruno Lafont, who wants to reach 450 million to innovation of the period 2012-2015.
This objective should be achieved one year ahead in 2014, he confirmed in a press conference devoted to programs of research and innovation group.
“The challenge is to move from being a material manufacturer to a provider of solutions for the construction”, he added. “We are in acceleration phase”, assured the CEO.
Innovation budget to be increased by 2.5
In 2012, the Group recorded € 80 million related to innovation and target in 2013 200 million.
In this context, new products, offers and services expected to account for 60% growth, 40% is related to business improvement and new market segments,
The Group has strengthened its presence in emerging markets, which in 2012 accounted for 59% of its sales totaled, against 32% in 2005. Lafarge has also made a refocusing its activities on heart of business: cement (66% of sales), concrete and aggregates (34%).
In its 2012-2015 strategic plan announced last year, Lafarge aims to generate 1.75 billion euros thanks to cost reductions ($ 1.3 billion) and development innovations (475 million).
The group aims to increase sales due to innovation in this period of “more than one billion,” said Mr. Lafont.
Building Better Cities
To mark the strategic development, Lafarge has adopted a new slogan: “Building Better Cities” to focus on technological improvements, environmental, targeting both mature markets as emerging markets.
The group wants to meet the expected trend of urbanization. In 2050, nearly 70% of the world population (expected to reach 9 billion people) will live in cities, against more than 50% today, according to Lafarge.
The group wants to grow especially in the “special concretes” (self-compacting concrete, fiber, decontaminating or draining): he wants to reach 45% of its concrete volumes in 2015 with these products immovants against third now.
Lafarge in 2012 spent some 118 million euros in R & D will remain at the same level this year, said Mr Lafont.
The group opened in the last 18 months three new development laboratories in France, China and India, and will continue this year with Algeria and Brazil. The goal is to have 10 such centers by 2015.
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Emerging Markets: Opportunities for Energy Innovation
Emerging markets provide attractive opportunities for innovative energy systems. The competitive advantage of renewable over traditional energy sources is greater than in developed countries. However, socio-economic, cultural, and policy issues might interfere with the innovation process in these countries.
The green revolution must include and empower women. According to Katherine Lucey, founder & CEO of Solar Sister, the main cultural barrier for energy innovation in Africa is gender. Women need access to electricity to bring progress in the community.
Brazil is an emerging global leader in the renewable energy industry, gaining this position by implementing favorable policies and market mechanisms, such as reverse auctions, aimed to remove financial barriers for the energy innovation progress. Today, wind energy represents 25% of Brazilian market share and Lauro Fiuza, VP for International Relations of ABEEolica, said the next step will be bringing solar to the same level, thus creating a complementary system that will make renewables a major power generation source in Brazil.
In developing countries, solar and wind energy are already cost competitive. Technological, financial, and policy innovations are creating win-win conditions for renewables and bringing national energy independence. Although there is not a right set of energy policies for every country, Dr. Kelly Sims Gallagher, associate professor of energy and environment policy at Tufts University, said those countries experimenting with policy solutions – e.g. China – are better positioned than countries spending too much time deciding the right strategy to implement.
See more details
- Wind power surpasses Nuclear in China (jbsnews.com)
- How to Follow Renewable Energies into Emerging Markets (renewableenergyworld.com)
- NZ firms told to look to emerging markets (radionz.co.nz)
- Why Emerging Solar Markets are Essential (solarfeeds.com)