More than 30 leaders members and friends of BNCC gathered at the Brazilian Embassy in Oslo to the first Executive Dialogue organized by the chamber, with an extraordinary guest, Mr. Erling Lorentzen.
The ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Mr. George Monteiro Prata welcomed the audience and Mr. Lorentzen, who is a crucial actor in the commercial relations between Brazil and Norway. Aage Thoen, board member of BNCC, moderate the dialogue, where top-level managers dealing with Brazil had the opportunity to ask questions and exchange experiences with Mr. Lorentzen.
Erling Sven Lorentzen (born 28 January 1923) is a Norwegian shipowner and industrialist who has lived in Brazil since 1953. He was married to Princess Ragnhild, who died in 2012. In Brazil, Lorentzen pursued entrepreneurial ventures in shipping and energy/liquefied petroleum gas and founded Aracruz Cellulose, responsible for the creation of more than 100 thousand direct and indirect jobs in Brazil.
Mr. Lorentzen told the presents that this market opportunity was realized by him when Dr. Eliezer Batista, then president of Vale do Rio Doce contacted him to transport ore and timber combined in the same ships. He concluded that it would not be ideal, mainly because of the possibility of contamination of the wood with ore dust. So Lorentzen told him and other professionals involved in the project that it was the right time to make a scale pulp mill in Brazil. Years later he heard from President Geisel himself that many times it was discussed in government if they should support this “crazy Norwegian” in his ideas. But Mr. Lorentzen was firmly convinced that this project would bring significant value to Brazil, both for job creation and export competitiveness, among other aspects.
During the dialogue, he was asked for advice to Norwegian who are doing business in Brazil. Lorentzen was accurate in saying that the number one reason for his success in the country was related to people. “Brazil is a good country to work in, but is important to listen to people, invite them to participate and create confidence in them,” said Mr. Lorentzen. He believes that creates friendships and understands the Brazilians is fundamental to develop a business relationship where both countries win.
When asked about the main success factors for business in Brazil, he mentioned three points: In Brazil, you have human potential, possibilities of investment from BNDS and vast market prospective. About the challenges, he mentioned that corruption is an evil that destroys nations, and is present in Brazil. He affirmed that his behavior in Brazil has always been intact, transparent and human and this helped to face this challenge.
Mr. Lorentzen charmed the attendees with his energy, good humor, his histories, experiences, and advice. He seems never grow old in his ideas and never give up on the progress of the humanity. Today, he is involved in a sustainable project in Ghana, where the intention is to create a forest base of 20 thousand hectares and generate about 4 thousand jobs.
At the end of the meeting, Aage Thoen, handled a diploma of honorary member of BNCC to Mr. Lorentzen on behalf of the chamber, in recognition of his preeminence for having a significant and positive impact on the Brazilian-Norwegian commercial relations.