Fundação Renova

Interview with Roberto Waack, CEO of the Renova Foundation

Published in: 10/25/2016

Renova Foundation

Learn more about Roberto Waack, CEO of the Renova Foundation, and his mission for the institution

The Renova Foundation is led by the biologist and CEO Roberto Waack. With an extensive background in the field of sustainability, Waack has developed long term relationships with national and international civil society organizations, including WWF Brazil, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Ethos and the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund. Learn more about him and his mission leading the Renova Foundation.

Roberto Waack, CEO of the Renova Foundation

Roberto Waack, CEO of the Renova Foundation. | Leo Drumond / NITRO

1 – What is the Renova Foundation’s role towards the Fundão dam collapse?

Roberto Waack: The Renova Foundation was created with the mission to manage the repair, restoration and reconstruction programs of the regions affected by the Fundão dam collapse. For this, we will work leaning on two important pillars: management efficiency, bringing solutions which are always aligned with sustainability concepts, and total transparency, listening to society and stimulating a dialogue on all developed work.

2 – Which are the main areas of action of the created programs and how will the Renova Foundation manage the process of the works?

RW: The programs, accounted for in the Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Term (TTAC), are grouped in two main areas: environmental and socioeconomic and include, since their development, the participation of the communities. Furthermore, they are subject to constant monitoring, audits and broad dissemination, ensuring that civil society stays informed about the measures taken and the results obtained.

3 – Which are the main challenges of the Renova Foundation?

RW: We are facing three big challenges: scale, time and knowledge. The Renova Foundation was created to repair, restore and reconstruct the regions affected by a large scale rupture. Obviously there is an urgency to conclude the programs, but there are processes in place for the execution which don’t allow us to act with the speed that we would like to. The third challenge, knowledge, refers to the fact that we’ve never experienced an incident like this before. The entity has a fundamental role in the development of technologies and solutions to overcome these challenges, always in contact with all those involved, especially the affected communities. We would like to work quickly but also in a safe manner and with the commitment to overcome barriers and the unknown.

4 -Will there be accountability to society about the progress of the programs?

RW: Yes. The main objective of accountability is to receive feedbacks about the works that are being developed. We always want to stimulate the communication, receive comments and implement them in the whole process involving the reparation, restoration and reconstruction of the affected areas. The base of accountability is an invitation to dialogue.

5 – How will you contribute to the works executed by the Renova Foundation?

RW: My main contribution as a CEO of the Renova Foundation will be to guarantee the maximum efficiency and transparency in the execution of the programs, always prioritizing dialogue with society, this way making it possible to overcome barriers and identify the best ways for developing works related to revegetation, conservation of the cultural heritage or the Mediated Indemnity Program (PIM).

6 – What experience in your professional career can make a difference in the reconstruction process of the affected areas?

RW: The sustainability agenda covers two main items: transparency and technical repertoire. The transparency and the stimulation of dialogue serve as a base in order to form a joint construction ready to face any environmental challenge. The other element, technical repertoire, says in respect to the way of use of the best technologies that they should be used in determined processes, like for example, forest restoration, social capital valorization or regeneration of degraded areas. Because I’ve been active in this area for several years now, uniting these elements is my main way of contributing to the Foundation.

7 – What motivated you to participate in the Renova Foundation as a CEO?

RW: It’s an absolute concrete challenge, on a very large scale and that’s what attracts me. The Renova Foundation’s role is to look forward in alliance with the elements of sustainability, and is a human action model focused on the reparation, restoration and reconstruction of the regions affected by the collapse. Although it is a determination established in the Transaction and Conduct Adjustment Term (TTAC), the proposal is innovative and shall be our way of leading, independently and autonomously, with a situation of large impact.

8 – How does one reconstruct in a sustainable manner nowadays?

RW: Sustainable reconstruction means using sustainability concepts that today’s society refers to as mandatory for the future of humanity as, for example, the question of climate changes. Reconstructing a town is also worrying about questions like waste recycling and generating incomes for the people of this region. Therefore, dialogue, efficiency and transparency should go hand in hand.

9 – In your opinion, is society prepared to apply the sustainability concepts? What is the Renova Foundation’s role in this sense?

RW: The perception exists that something should be done, we are more conscious and, in Brazil, there are quite mature niches. However, still a lot should be done to have the concept of sustainability move forward and applied in the day-to-day live of people. In this sense, the Renova Foundation can also act as an educator, after all, reconstructing is educating, incorporating new practices and ways to lead with natural capital, but this will only be possible if all the different involved parties participate in an active way along the whole process.

10 – What are your inspirations for (day-to-day) life?

RW: We have the role to reharmonize the relation between man and the environment. We, as a society and even as a species, have gone further an taken more than the planet can give us. For me, this is the main focus point and the Renova Foundation can leverage ways to balance the relationship between man and the environment. Certainly, the way that the Foundation will lead with social and natural capital will inspire me, in fact, what has inspired me over the last years, are the significance of human relations with the environment, the appreciation for dialogue and the transparency to find solutions.

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